Microsoft: master of confusion and uncertainty

If my computer could speak, i wonder how it would respond to being told by Microsoft that it had been deemed obsolete. Even as i type these words on a computer running Windows 2000 Pro, i know deep down, that the end is near. I’m sure that many other users are also faced with the same upgrade dilemma ever since mainstream support for Windows 2000 client and server ended on June 30th of this year. I think Microsoft may have underestimated how profound the effects of this transition would be. The reality is that many business users still have to make a decision to upgrade from Windows 2000, and XP may not be exactly what they’re looking for.

According to Microsoft, Windows 2000 SP4 has moved from “mainstream to extended support”. More info on the difference between these two can be found at the Microsoft Lifecycle site. What this basically means for Windows 2000 users is: no more new features, and mostly eveything other than security updates, will now cost money. While this might be alright for some people, when i think of what a mess Microsoft has made of maintaining previous versions of their OS, like Windows 98, and now the problems they’re having with the recent Windows 2000 Rollup.. let’s just say it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. It does, however, make me want to install a new operating system. I’m just not sure I want another version of Windows.

For many users, myself included, Windows XP was never a viable alternative. It seemed too flashy and new at the time. The benefits of installing it in a production environment did not outweigh the inherent risks. I don’t think business users care if you call it “home version” or “professional”, it’s still XP, and not 2K. Don’t get me wrong; XP is still an excellent upgrade from the now defunct Windows ME operating system. It’s just that i think many business users were waiting for a Windows 2003 professional. But that day never came. Windows 2003 server was released, that solved the problem for all those running Windows 2000 server, but everyone on the Windows 2000 Pro train was forced to merge with the XP crowd.

I’m not quite sure what Microsoft was thinking when it decided to lump all users into one basket of eggs. Maybe they thought that by focusing on XP, for both business and home users, they could ensure a more stable and secure operating system for all. Were they simply listening to what the majority of their user base was asking for? Did they seriously think that business users and home users were looking for the same things? Only time would tell.

Today, from my perspective, XP appears to be a veritable hacker magnet. The never-ending onslaught of security updates and patches, service packs, and still more patches has reduced this operating system into what i like to call: an accident waiting to happen. In fact, XP turned out to be no more secure or stable than windows 2000. I have yet to see a vulnerability that affects 2K and not XP. What i have seen, on the other hand, is the exact opposite… problems that affect XP and not 2K. I can’t help but wonder if LongVistahorn will offer any real improvements.

Or will it be: One step forwards, two steps back..

Comments 6

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