Windows XP – End of Life

It’s the operating system that won’t die!


And even though I primarily use Xubuntu and other Linux-based operating systems for my PCs, I still use Windows XP.  I also use Windows 98, but that’s another blog post.

My use of Windows XP is restricted to a virtual machine here on this main computer of mine.  I use it for five applications, none of which I’ve found satisfactory replacements for in the Linux world.  Those applications are:

  • MailCall: an extremely lightweight program that checks a POP3 mail server and retrieves email headers, allowing them to be read remotely without actually downloading any email.  It also allows email to be deleted from the server, all without needing to download it.  This is awesome for filtering spam.
  • TextAloudMP3: a text-to-speech program that starts reading text copied to the clipboard.  This works with the shared clipboard functionality of VirtualBox, and it’s how I read everything on the internet.  I’m not visually impaired, just lazy.  To this day, all Linux text-to-speech fucking sucks.
  • FreeCell: That little ol’ card game.  I still just prefer the Windows XP version, especially since I’ve been able to “skin” my cards with custom card faces I found somewhere.  The face cards have a 19th century Japanese look to them that I like.
  • IrfanView: The popular free image viewer and basic manipulation tool.  I’ve never seen a similar program for Linux that does what IrfanView does.  I’ve had people tell me to use GIMP, but that’s like using an aircraft carrier to go down to the corner store and back.
  • MS Paint: XP version.  I used it to letter all my comics, and though it only anti-aliases fonts, I’m quite happy with its features.  See my flippant comment above about GIMP.

There are other programs I have installed on my virtual Windows XP installation that I use from time to time, like actual Yahoo Messenger, and of course the range of anti-malware and firewall software that you need to use to patch up Windows’ shitty security architecture.

I also have a laptop that dual-boots Windows XP and Lubuntu, and that’s got a slew of video games and home console emulators on it, as well as the usual assortment of Windows XP productivity apps and anti-malware and firewall software.

Those are the only two Windows XP installations I have with internet connections.  The others I have are already disconnected from the internet, so they’re not really relevant to all of this.  They run games, emulators, audio editing software and other stuff too.

So what will happen on April 8th, when Microsoft officially ends support for Windows XP and kills it off?

Madness!  Pestilence!  Lunacy!  Violence and turbulence and hysteria on a scale heretofore unknown by mankind!

Nah, I expect there will be a zero-day exploit out for Windows XP pretty damn quick, and MS won’t patch it the following Tuesday like they usually do.   Then another exploit will come out, and another, and another.  These things will pile up until anyone running Windows XP with an internet connection will just be a sitting duck for malware writers.

So on April 8th, I’ll be disconnecting my Windows XP machines from the internet.  I’ll do this by going into the Control Panel, System, Hardware, Device Manager and disabling the network hardware.  It works the same way in the virtual and real installations of XP.

I don’t use XP for anything internet related except for that MailCall program, but that’s pretty important for me.  Sadly, since I can’t find a GUI replacement, I’ll have to give that functionality up.  My Xfce desktop has an applet that will check for the presence of mail on a POP3 server, but it won’t allow me to read the headers or remotely delete spam email.

I’ve also seen it suggested that I buy a copy of Windows 7 to run as a VM on my desktop.  No fucking thank you.  I’ve been wanting to avoid giving more money to Microsoft since the late 90s, so I’m not about to shell out for an OS when I only really need it for five programs.

And don’t get me started about Windows 8.


I expect I’ll keep using Windows XP for years and years and years – but I won’t go anywhere near the Internet with it.  Anyone who does so will be more and more likely to be part of a botnet without their knowing as time goes on.