Jul 152015

XP x64 is dead logo[1] Update 2: It’s not looking good. At all. I (and some other users) have been playing around with Windows Storage Server 2003 systems (see the first update below), and while the OEMs are supposed to uphold support for the system, it seems they just don’t care. Two distributions have been inspected, one from Dell and one from Hewlett Packard. The latter actually does feature an updating software, that will however ignore all newer Microsoft security fixes. It just doesn’t do anything useful at all it seems.

For now, I am not even sure whether Microsoft truly ships any updates to the OEMs for rollout to customers, or whether they’ve just abandoned WSS03 completely, making their lifecycle statements regarding the operating system an empty promise, as no OEM could patch the OS itself like Microsoft can. It looks like we’re not getting anywhere with this. If you are a Windows Storage Server 2003 operator and you know more about this, or if you actually do have access to WSS03 Windows updates from after 2015-07-14, please do let me know in the comments! Thank you.

Update: While I’m not completely sure about it, it might be the case that we can disregard the text below this paragraph. A user that goes by the name of [tagg] pointed me towards a comment in the RyanVM forums, where 5eraph is releasing his XP x64 update packs. It seems that a special version of Windows Server 2003 called the “Windows Storage Server 2003” is actually supported until [October of 2016], which could mean that XP x64 could get yet another extension to its lifetime. I’m currently inspecting the operating system and methods to extract full update installers out of it to see whether it can truly be done. If yes, there might be life in the old dog yet!

The dark ages have finally arrived – for XP x64 users, that is. Yesterday, Microsofts extended support for Windows Server 2003 has ended, and with it also my [unofficial XP x64 update] project. There won’t be any more updates for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition SP2 and its on-board components from this day on. And while the regular 32-bit version with its older NT 5.1 kernel will live on until 2019 due to the [POSReady2009 hack], XP x64 will not, as there is no 64-bit embedded POSReady version of XP naturally, given that point-of-service systems like ticketing machines or airport terminals don’t need 64-bit address spaces.

So, as said on the update page, if you’re going to keep using XP x64, you’re doing so at your own risk. And you should really be knowing what you’re doing too, or you may not only put yourself at risk, but also other users on the web, should your machine become compromised. But given that XP x64 users I’ve encountered recently are also often freaks and avid Linux/UNIX users as well, I think the danger is much lower than with 32-bit XP.

Well that’s it. From the Microsoft side of things, this is pretty much where XP x64 ends.

It’s a bit sad that there is no free kernel API extension to make newer software run on the old system, like there is for Win9x with [KernelEx]. Software built with modern Microsoft development environments (Visual Studio 2013+) and in certain cases older ones will likely work on XP less and less from now on. People will no longer care so much for linking against the old platform SDKs and compiling for the v110_xp platform target.

Several free software projects (like FileZilla to name just one of many) have already ceased to support NT5.x even before the end of Server 2003. It’s even worse for commercial applications of course. Then there are others which still care to keep the platform supported, like the x265/HEVC encoder or closed software like AnyDVD HD.

But one thing’s for sure.

From this day on, it’ll only get darker and colder for those who decide to stay on this ship!

[1] Original image is © 2015 Windows 8 Wallpapers

Apr 082014

Windows XP dark age logoSince I love exaggerated drama, I’d like to tell you a little story today. One that repeats itself every now and then, but sometimes it just stirs up shit more than usually. Ok? Here goes: One day, in a relatively nice world (or at least some inhabitants would’ve called it that), there was a young maiden growing up. She was not alone though, but a member of a large family with lots of older relatives, and her name was Windows XP. Having Windows Me and Windows 2000 as her parents (although some voices claim the real father was a guy named “Neptune”, but nobody can prove anything) made her a nice young lass. Since she was the youngest of the family, everybody loved her! Ok, not everybody liked her modern looks, but luckily, mommy 2000’s GDI clothes fit her soon enough, so she was able to dress up more seriously when requested. While their world wasn’t the only one even back then, the family chose to largely ignore or shut out other worlds around them, and Windows XP couldn’t care less. Growing massively in popularity she was soon the hottest thing in her own world, much to her satisfaction of course.

Windows XP on the rise

Windows XP on the rise

Childhood inevitably coming to an end slowly, she grew up to become a 64-Bit operating system even, and being the only one of the family with that feature at the time made her mighty proud. She went a bit international even, and worked on both the x86 and IA-64 Itanium continents, albeit the latter sunk to the ground of the ocean a few years ago, but oh well. At least she could now offer some serious new things like GPT or StorPort drivers, having matured from NT 5.1 to NT 5.2.

XP grows up, all x64 now

XP grows up, all x64 now

When her first sister was born, a young fugly wench named Vista, all that Windows XP had to spare for her was a smirk. With Vista not able to reach XPs and XP x64s glory, she thought herself invincible and walked through her world head high, all peaches and cream! Those other worlds’ people, like Linux, BSD UNIX or even MacOS X she just belittled rather than anything else, so great was her popularity at home by now. By that time Windows XP had grown relatively mature though, and little would she know that the true danger did not come from other worlds really, but from within her own freaking house!

The then-new brat

The then-new brat

Her over-confident smile froze to ice quickly after the birth of her then-youngest sister, named 7. Windows 7 was prettier, had new stuff XP didn’t and nobody really cared about that IA-64 Itanium continent having been flooded anyway. All you hear about that is cynical laughter, as only fools like Hewlett Packard had built their expensive houses there to begin with. Sure, Windows 7 having an even more perfect body than XP she couldn’t wear those nice old GDI clothes that well anymore (they just somehow don’t fit quite so well), but who was to be in opposition to that these days? All older relatives and parents were long gone, and Windows XP stood alone, and it was then when she realized that the end was coming for her, far sooner than she expected, having ignored all the signs…

By all means, she just couldn’t do those fancy new Direct3D 10/11 tricks that 7 could seemingly just pull out of the hat without much effort while even looking good doing so. As fast as the rise came, as long as her reign was, from that point on, there was only one way. Down. Indeed, the grim reaper was coming for her. And well…

For most citizens of the Microsoft world, he paid her the one and final visit today.

Or at least, so they would believe… and indeed, the dusk *is* here, night *is* falling, and for her, there will be no real sunrise ever again. And so, as she stumbles across the graveyard of her ancestors, in tears of despair, suddenly they are calling her down into the icy depths with a wild roar and a cold grip!

The icy depths are calling her

Come down here, where you belong, bitch! Die, just like all of us died before you! (True story guys!!!11 This happened today, on the 8th of April in 2014, no shit! Oh and: Original drawing by [Ian Strandberg].)

So, will she escape from that perilous graveyard? And if so, what for? To live on confused, in a world she can no longer see clearly, whose inhabitants she partially can’t even talk to anymore, a world that had abandoned her? Some legends say, that certain operating systems may carry on forever, despite all odds. Surely she heard those weird stories of ancients from other worlds such as Xenix (a very, very distant relative that shared next to nothing with her) or even OpenVMS. Maybe she too can trick death one last time as she did before already, and find her a place that does not despise her. Could be that that place is right here on this very machine I am typing this on, who knows? ;) And there might be others, who do not fear her being the outcast that she now is.

As she crawls over the mossy walls of that cemetery gravely wounded, suddenly, a bitter grin flits across her face as an evil thought found its way into her mind. She hears herself laugh out load, hysterically even, at the joy of that very thought!

For just recently, a new sister was born. And her name was 8. And some say, she be pretty damn good looking too. Maybe one day, her old rival Windows 7 will join her in her eternal exile, sharing the same bitterness, as she will have seen her own new rival force her out of her own house. Now if that day ever comes, that grin’d go from ear to ear, that much’s for sure!

Two old ladies, detached from the modern world, smiling bitterly at their fate. Somehow, a comforting thought she pondered.

PS.: I have started to write this and do that graveyard picture with a fever at nice 38°C/100°F. As I have now finished this weirdo crap about good old Windows XP, the thermometer is sitting at 38.5°C/102°F and it’s getting seriously hard to concentrate and maintain focus. So parts of this “article” might be unusually strange (ahem) or contain errors. If so, my apologies. I think I can no longer focus on it now, I’ll have to go to bed. I just had to finish this trash first somehow, as the 8th of April 2014, the end of all Microsoft support for Windows XP and XP x64 only comes once! ;) Long live XP x64, against all odds (or just emigrate to Linux or BSD UNIX, probably better anyway)!