Tech Friday: XP is over, Long Live 7

retro_robotWith the impending demise of support for Windows XP due in April, one solution I investigated was replacing an entire workstation with a refurbished machine supplied by NewEgg. They had a several Lenovo units for sale for $219, including shipping. These included a 250 megabyte hard drive, a 2.8 or 3.0 dual-core Intel processor, and 4 Gigs of RAM, and Windows Professional 7.

We received the unit promptly, and as I unboxed it, I noticed that it appears to be an IBM-branded unit built by Lenovo of about vintage 2009. This is a little older than I would have hoped, but the Windows 7 setup seems to be going smoothly so far. The unit has a Windows “Microsoft Refurbished” sticker on it which has a valid Windows 7 code. There was also a “Made for Vista” sticker on the case, which I’ve scratched off. Yikes.

So far, main irritation is that the case is so small that there is no room for a full length expansion card. We normally have dual monitors for everyone, so expanding the single VGA motherboard connector may prove to be a challenge. Still, a machine with the hardware specs above, and Windows 7 for a little over $200.00… that is inexpensive. Comparable new machines were in the $600 range.

I’ve had mixed results with refurbs at least with Dell. A couple of Dell SX series went belly up, and one was dead on arrival. A recent Optiplex 620 series seems to overheat. I’ve had two full tower refurbs from Dell which have been just fine, as well as an Inspiron laptop. So, let’s hope the Lenovo, er, IBM is solid.

But back to XP. Isn’t it odd that although Microsoft is trying to entice users to move to the cloud, and subscription-based software, it can’t seem to be in a position to offer a subscription-based support plan for $20.00 or $50.00 a year for XP. John Dvorak outlines a plan here.

I always thought Microsoft was in the business of making money. If you are a shareholder, go to the next meeting and ask the bigwigs why Microsoft is leaving what can amount to billions of dollars on the table regarding Microsoft XP.

Microsoft is too dumb to realize that it can effortlessly monetize Windows XP using the beloved software subscription/rental scheme the company keeps discussing, but apparently has nothing but trouble trying to implement.

I am going to describe a multi-billion dollar idea that Microsoft must consider.

There are still approximately 500 million XP users—an estimated 29 percent of the computers in the world. Many do not want to upgrade to anything new. They are happy campers.

These folks, according to a variety of reports, include many banks and most of the ATM networks. Smart corporate money knows that if you have something that works great for a single application you do not swap it out. You run it until something comes along that would save you enormous amounts of money. This is not happening with banking software.

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