After eleven years, it’s finally time to say goodbye to an old friend. Yup, I’ve done it. I have finally upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7.
I know that Windows 7 came out three years ago, but I am not ashamed to admit I was still using XP this whole time.
Think about all of the previous releases of Windows: 3.1, 95, 98, and 2000. When each new version came out, people didn’t think twice about ditching the old version. When Windows XP came out in 2001, I was one of many who couldn’t wait to jump ship from Windows Millennium.
But then something strange happened. Microsoft went to work on the next version of Windows to follow XP. The industry waited, and waited, and waited. It took more than five years before they released Windows Vista in 2006.
The new OS was, in my opinion, a disaster. It was a nightmare of usability and performance that scared users from upgrading. Many people (including myself) chose to hang back and stick with XP instead of making the transition to Vista.
During those five years, Microsoft had released a slew of Service Packs that added loads of functionality to Windows XP. The original product had been expanded to include USB 2.0 support, IPv6 support, and even a free Antivirus program. New versions of Office, Internet Explorer, and Media Player had also been rolled out.
As a result of the five year gap between products, developers had plenty of time to create a huge market of third-party software and hardware. For these reasons, Windows XP grew to capture a staggering 76% market share by January 2007.
While home users suffered through Vista on their newly-purchased computers, the business world largely turned its back on Vista and kept chugging along with XP. Microsoft went back to the drawing board and tried again.
Then in 2009, Microsoft released Windows 7. This version was a dramatic overhaul of Vista that brought about huge improvements in speed and usability. It quickly became the fastest-selling Operating System in history, selling more than 100 million copies in its first six months. Finally, the world had an operating system that was truly good enough to be a replacement for XP.
And yet, I still wasn’t ready to move on. Like an old sweater I just couldn’t throw out, XP was comfortable. It was familiar. I knew every trick in the book when it came to tweaking and customizing it to my needs.
I slowly warmed up to Windows 7 when my computer at work was upgraded. Then, I built a media center PC for my living room with Windows 7. Finally, three years and two months after Windows 7 was released, I caved in and installed it on my main computer.
My overall experience with Windows 7 is that it’s a solid performer. It works well and has been very trouble-free for me. I’ve been humming along with no problems to speak of. It’s a good product and I’d recommend it.
You can say what you want about Windows XP, but the fact remains that XP was the first operating system in history that was good enough to last that long. And it will keep on being good enough until support for it is officially discontinued in April of 2014. My hat goes off to you, old friend.