What Windows XP’s Surprising Longevity May Mean

An article on Time.com discussed the unlikely longevity of Windows XP and its implications for Microsoft, which is planning to begin selling Windows 8, three generations beyond XP, as its latest operating system.

I am a Windows 7 user but remember XP with nostalgia. I received a Dell PC from my parents during my senior year of high school in anticipation of college. This XP machine survived all six of my years as a student at the University of Wyoming in the various dorm rooms and apartments of a young man, afflicted with dust, neglect, and the other assorted slings and arrows of being an appliance of a twenty-year-old male.

It even made the move to Lubbock, Texas, where it persevered for a few months as my ailing desktop companion. In total, the desktop computer was close to 7 years old and had received heavy use, its gigabytes well-stocked with countless Microsoft Office files and iTunes downloads, as well as various computer games.

The Time article questions Microsoft’s future profitability if its old XP remains acceptable to so many users. Who will be splurging on Windows 8 if XP still works well enough? The article also wonders how the software industry, as a whole, will remain profitable if many people cannot purchase new programs that are not XP-compatible.

I think the issues inspired by the untimely survival of Windows XP are deeper and more profound, and affect the entire tech field.

Are we closing in on our human limits for needing, or even desiring, ever faster computers?

There is, after all, an upper limit of speed when it comes to computing. A personal computer need not operate faster than a human’s nerve conduction velocity – a machine that changes screens faster than human comprehension is unnecessary.

Downloads can only be so instantaneous – a bit of lag time may be necessary to prevent users from accidentally downloading too many massive files.

Windows XP provided all that I, a humble common consumer, needed. I updated to newer operating systems only when my computers breathed their last.

My Windows 7 computers, one a laptop and one a notebook, are still going strong…need I upgrade to Microsoft’s newest digital offering next year when it debuts?

No, and I feel that many people think similarly. We don’t need to follow the curve that insists that computer processing speed doubles every 18 months.

Perhaps the tech industry will begin to experience troubles as its numerous products approach the upper limits of what humans desire in terms of processing speed.

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