10 years ago today, Windows XP was officially launched in New York City. It was a different tie. We were 6 weeks removed from the attacks of 9/11, computers were still not in every home, not everyone had broadband internet, and smartphones really didn't exist yet. How far things have come….
Windows XP was the second most important operating system release in the last 20 years, behind only Windows 95. Windows XP represented the final combination of the user friendly Windows 9x series and the stable, but business centric Windows NT series. This may not sound like much to most, but it was important, and built the foundation that we still use today in Windows 7.
Windows XP was heavily based on the Windows 2000 codebase, which was developed before the internet was something that everyone had. That meant a bumpy ride for most of Windows XP's life. XP was basically designed well before what we use the internet for today. the idea of computer viruses spreading over the internet really hadn't been conceived, and the term "malware" hadn't even been invented yet. Quite frankly Windows XP was not well equipped to handle these. Even with major updates, like the massive Service Pack 2 in 2004, Windows XP was never really secure from such threats, even with good antivirus software.
Despite the bad, Windows XP was still a wonderful operating system in its time. It received three service packs, service pack 2 remains to this day the single biggest update to any windows version ever. It introduced the start menu convention that is still used to this day in Windows 7, and many of the UI elements, while updated and given the aero glass treatment in Windows 7, can still be seen today.
That being said, Windows XP's time has long past. For many years companies, even Microsoft, tried to bolt on features, programs, and systems that were never really designed to run in Windows XP. Windows Desktop search is the best example of that. Windows XP had to be updated to be able to support newer hardware (the original shipping version of XP only supported hard drive partitions 127GB or less, where today 3TB drives are in the market), and the support for wireless was rudimentary at best until later in the life cycle.
Windows XP came out 10 years ago. If you are reading this on Windows XP, it is time to move on. XP has been surpassed by Windows Vista and Windows 7 (admittedly moreso Windows 7). Windows 7 is simply the best version of Windows ever made. Windows XP changed computing and truly made it mainstream. Windows XP was something I used literally every day from 2001 until 2007 at home, and until 2010 at work. It was a good soldier, but the sun has set on it, and it is time that we move on.