Don’t Blame A 12-Year-Old Operating System When It Crashes

Don’t Blame A 12-Year-Old Operating System When It Crashes
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The picture above shows a display in the Qantas Club lounge in Sydney which has crashed and become stuck on the Windows XP loading screen. These sorts of sights aren’t uncommon, but it would be a mistake to blame this particular problem on the OS itself. Instead, the question should be: why is an OS which ends all support in just over nine months still running in a prominent public location for a major company?

Sure, upgrade cycles in large organisations run slowly, but Windows 7 (the best accepted of Windows XP’s successors) has been available for more than four years. Another consideration: the lounge where this screen is wasn’t rebuilt until around that same time.

In computing terms, Windows XP is a dinosaur; there are better solutions available. The embarrassment in this case falls squarely on Qantas’ shoulders. That’s my take. What’s yours?


  • I work in the IT department of one of australia’s largest companies. We still use XP across our whole fleet or workstations. I would suggest that Qantas is in the same boat. My guess is that this tv screen just runs a webservice from a workstation and hence the xp logo.

    • Sure the TV just runs a web service with updated information displayed, why not use a Linux box for that purpose as a pose to a 12 year old Microsoft system.

      Also your company will be forced to upgrade very soon as security updates are ending for XP.

      Your company needs to spend money on upgrading it’s IT infrastructure or face serious data loss and security complications.

      • Enterprise companies like dedicated support from vendors — with the linux world, this is a subset of all OS’s out there, and whilst free to install, services and support (which are general the larger share of the cost of software implementation), Linux support generally also costs more than Windows.

        • A desktop operating system seems overblown for what is probably a thin client that just displays data. All the grunt is probably happening in a server. Perhaps this indicates there is a market for cheap reliable thin client machines with low support costs? Something running on minimal hardware that can consume services and display information.

          • not when they have a fleet of such devices across the board. Makes training your IT staff simpler too.

        • I totally agree but adding on to this – Its about standardisation. if the majority of your back office workstation fleet is windows XP it doesnt make sense to hire someone with linux skills just to run a ‘cheap’ tv viewer. The hardware is always the cheap part, its the labor behind it thats expensive for business.

  • Better part of the Victorian Public Service is still using XP, short to mid-term consequences of which are likely to be a bit worse than a stuck display in an airport lounge. Never underestimate the inertia of large organisations.

  • Penny pinching at it’s worst. Many of our clients just run their XP workstations until they break down. Most are still running but not well. They think they are saving money by doing this but these old computers require additional technical support for all kinds of issues and they are slow. The staff are not as productive as they could be which is costing them money every minute of the day

    • Yeah I’m not in IT but I have seen this at a couple of places I’ve worked. Huge false economy. But I’m guessing it’s got something to do with making the balance sheets look better in the short-term.

  • come and talk to me when your customer needs a website to work in IE6, and to a lesser extent IE7.
    Large companies have terrible IT policies using outdated OS’s and outdated Browsers, and its not going to change any time soon

  • My take – upgrades cost money and the software is still supported so it’s a good call.

    This error might be a reason to change if it has only just started happening but prior to that it would have been an upgrade for the sake of it. May be they are about to go Windows 8 to get another 12 years out of their investment.

  • I work for a large aussie company and we’ve gone from NT to XP and now moving to 7, in the space of 4years, having moved to 7 the system is easier to use and faster. The sooner management in these companies upgrade the more efficient the companies will run…

  • Last I checked microsoft makes you pay licence fee per computer xp is run on, even for large companies, its a costing thing.

    • Large organisations would be using volume licensing. The cost is in the time/effort required to build/test/rollout the upgrade, not the actual software itself.

  • I work in industrial automation and just about every computer is still running windows xp. Except for new implementations within the sites. The penny counters at the top of the chain of these big businesses will not spend money upgrading a computer system because “its time”.
    They will hold out until they literally have their hand forced by MS.

  • I work for a big four bank and our entire corporate desktop fleet is still running XP. Granted we are currently migrating to Win7, but I can’t see that being done by end of support dates.
    Included in our XP SOE is IE6 for most users as well :O

    It’s easy for people who don’t work in an environment this big to sit there and say ‘spend the money and upgrade’. But the logistics of migrating 60k desktops to a new version is gargantuan.

  • Cost/benefit.

    Ok, so what’s the benefit of upgrading a PC, whose only job is to display arrival and departure times, to the latest operating system?

    There are very real costs associated with upgrading here. At the very least there’s a license cost. Not to mention the time.

    So you need to weigh that up against the issues that would arise from not upgrading. The actual issue here, I doubt that’s any fault of the operating system, it’s likely a hardware issue, which probably would have occurred no matter what the OS was.

    I suspect the actual “upgrade” path here wouldn’t be to Windows 7, but would be to a more lightweight system and OS. There’s no need for a system like this to be running on a full blown PC. Hell you can get a $100 smartphone with a HDMI port to run a system like this (if you wanted to go for stupid options).

  • I definitely see it as Microsoft’s embarrassment.
    New versions of OSs change many things, but they should make absolutely no difference to reliability – if XP isn’t as reliable as W7 or W8 (I’m not saying that is the case) then it’s MS’s fault.

    • This just in — Software gets better over time! As does the hardware it runs on. You heard it here first, folks!

    • Well, you see it’s like this.
      XP had issues. Not as many as say, Win Me (remember that pig?) or Vista.
      So, the folks at MS decided to bring out a newer, more reliable OS. This one was called Win 7.
      That too has it’s limitations and is why MS have now brought out Win 8.
      So you’re saying that MS should be embarrassed that a much older bit of software, written for use on much older hardware is not as good as their updated offerings?
      So should Ford hang their heads in shame because the model T was so much slower and less reliable than say a 2013 Falcon for eg?

      Just so you know, you’re an idiot.

    • That’s about a logical as saying that Ford should be embarrassed because you see someone driving along the road in a clapped out POS Cortina that’s been patched up and barely runs.

      Think for a minute of the landscape that XP was introduced into. Think about how the world has progressed since that time. And ask yourself if any responsible enterprise should still be using such dangerously old and outdated software. Even as front end for thin client tasks.

      Most big companies stagger lease their IT gear anyway, so it’s not like they have to fork out millions of dollars every few years to change the whole fleet over at once. I know where I work we get new IT delivered and installed every 3 years. Like clockwork. The man from Dell comes and packs up the old, migrates all our stuff across, unboxes the new machine, set’s it up and next month moves onto our next branch office. It’s not hard. We could easily stretch to 5 years IMO, but it’s a pleasure to move from office to office and state to state and know you’ll have quality, current, and standardised working IT gear whereever you are working. That has real value to a company.

  • Rather invest in newer software than OS. I run windows 8 on my pc and xp on my laptop, and could care less about the OS once a program is running.

  • Actually alot of businesses are still running Windows XP not because they want to, but because they are heavily invested in custom applications or IE frameworks that either cannot be upgraded or the cost is too high.

    This is reducing slowly, but I daresay that most companies see the benefits of running a newer OS over an older one and would make the jump in a heart-beat if they could, but are often tied to some legacy application that cannot be easily/cheaply replaced.

    I don’t blame Microsoft, I blame bad software companies and engineers.

  • Windows xp is very stable these days and works very well. Why replace it. Also i have not had any problems with viruses either so no problem their. So why replace a working system just beacause its old. I got news for you clocks are old.

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