Operating systems age like dogs

Dogs supposedly age at roughly 7 times the speed of humans, i.e. one “dog year” equals seven “human years”. Using this same formula on PC operating systems would make Windows XP, released in August 2001, getting on for 97 years of age!

Obviously this is a generalisation, but whilst there are some very fit and active 97 year olds out there, most people never make it that far! You almost certainly wouldn’t want a 97 year old security officer stopping people breaking in to your bank vault.

Windows XP has reached the point where it’s no longer supported and no longer receives security updates. Yet it shares a lot of the same code as newer OSs such as Windows 7 and Windows 8, and vulnerabilities are found (and fixed) in these all the time. Many of these vulnerabilities will exist in Windows XP, but are not being fixed due to its age. XP was a great OS, but you can’t get sentimental about a PC operating system at the expense of the security of your data and identity, and not to mention that you might be unwittingly aiding criminals who could be silently using your PC without your knowledge.

14 years is a very long time in IT.

Other out of support operating systems include Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4, Windows 2000. How comfortable would you feel if you were still using one of them?

Using the same calculation, Windows 7 (released July 2009) is about 42.  Windows Vista (released January 2007) is about 56.

When it comes to smartphones, the multiplier needs adjusting by quite a lot. In the case of Android, I think we’re probably talking more like a multiplier of 20. This would make Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) about 100, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) about 80, 4.2 (Jelly Bean) about 50, and 4.4 (KitKat) still a relatively youthful 30.


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