Microsoft created a problem for itself with Vista, prompting many users to stick with Windows XP. People have been using XP for seven years now, and regardless of how good Windows 7 might be, many might have a hard time leaving their security blanket behind. I've been using Windows 7 for months now, and I really like it, but there a number of reasons why XP users might want to stay put a little longer.
Extended support until April 8 2014. It's true that Microsoft has discontinued mainstream support for XP, but for most people this matters little. Microsoft will continue to provide security patches and per-incident phone and Web support for XP for years to come.
You live on the Web. Perhaps the features and applications an OS has to offer you are irrelevant. Maybe everything you do is in Firefox or Chrome and you could care less about Aero, the Improved Taskbar, Jump Lists, Snaps, Gadgets, Libraries and Home Groups. If your computing experience consists of Google Apps, Hulu, YouTube, Facebook and Gmail, you just might not care all that much about what OS is underneath it all.
Microsoft's latest security features are freely available to download for XP. IE8, Windows Defender, and Windows Security Essentials (currently in beta) are applications that help make Windows 7 secure. Security has become a priority for Microsoft, and it has made these apps freely available to XP users. While Windows 7 may be Microsoft's most secure OS to date, XP is also more secure than ever.
You've got your computer set up just the way you like it. Unfortunately, Microsoft was a little shortsighted when it omitted a direct path for XP users to upgrade to Windows 7. If your computer is a finely tuned machine with all your apps and settings just right, it can be highly disruptive to have to install and configure everything from scratch.
Your next computer will include Windows 7 anyway. In a year or three, you're going to replace your computer, and it will come with Windows 7 (or whatever comes after 7). Why plunk down the additional $120 to $220 to upgrade your OS when you can apply that money toward the computer you're going to buy further on down the road.
Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about Windows 7, and I highly recommend it. But not everyone will need to make the jump just yet. XP is still a solid OS, and for many people, it does exactly what they need it to.
Michael Scalisi is an IT manager based in Alameda, California.