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China Hangs On to a Dying Windows XP

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Today is April 7th, the last day before the worldwide phaseout of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. While most people out West will be operating happily in either Windows 8, 7 and even, hahaha, Vista, close to 200 million people in China will still be holding onto XP.

According to StatCounter close to 50 percent of desktop PCs currently in use in China run Windows XP.


Back in 2007, Microsoft announced that it would be eventually removing support for the Windows XP operating system. After seven years, XP will finally be phased out tomorrow, April 8th. What this means is that Microsoft will no longer officially release any new security and software updates for the aged OS.

This phaseout of support from Microsoft leaves Chinese PCs vulnerable to any newfangled viruses, spyware, etc that may or may not be looming over the horizon. Not only does the phaseout cause problems with security, it also complicates anti-piracy efforts in the People's Republic.


China has been tackling software piracy for decades, and Microsoft's Windows XP was a small example of a success. Pretty much every government computer in China runs Windows XP. Legal, legitimate copies of XP—from the subway system to powering automated teller machines, it's hard to walk around China and not see a busted terminal showing its true XP skin underneath.

The operating system is so popular that today, on China's largest micro-blog Weibo (formerly Sina Weibo) "farewell to XP" is trending. In an online poll, Weibo asked its users whether the phaseout will result in users upgrading. Of the 15,000+ people polled, more than 12,000 voted that they will continue to use XP till kingdom come.

Many of the comments on Weibo were positive, in the sense that they were sad to see XP go, but grateful for the OS. The way they write almost makes it feel like XP was a person. Crazy huh?

My first laptop computer ran on XP. My classmate just purchased a computer with a WD Operating System. I really liked XP. It ran fairly fast, didn't lag, it was an unpredictable OS, the sky is blue and the grass is green, thank you for all your work XP. Good bye. Sad smily face.


Post after post is about recollecting, word after word about tears. This sucks, please don't be such a tearjerker??? XP, don't leave! I haven't learned how to change operating systems.


I won't tell you that my virtual machine is running XP, I also won't tell you that my teacher's virtual machine is running Win2000 enterprise version. XP I wish you the best on your way to heaven, god must be begrudgingly using an Apple computer. He must not be having a time that he's calling you back.


Hopefully the phaseout will go smoothly. Chinese anti-virus companies did hold a hacking challenge earlier last week, with Chinese anti-virus company Qihoo 360 being able to fend off viruses for over 15 hours. Though if being safe running XP means installing Qihoo 360, it might be best to just bite the bullet and upgrade to Windows 7. It's only about $118 in China.

China Warns of Risks in Plan to Retire Windows XP [New York Times]

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Eric is a Beijing based writer and all around FAT man. You can contact him or follow him on Twitter @FatAsianTechie.