October 25, 2001 was the launch date of Microsoft Windows XP, the venerable operating system that millions continue to use as Microsoft gets ready to debut Windows 8 in 2012. The big reason so many computers still run the aging OS is that many corporations continue to run their business software on XP. With a large bank of computers or with custom software, companies sometimes are slow to switch over to a new system. For XP users, Vista has been available for years but got terrible reviews. People who have stuck with XP have been rewarded because Microsoft still offers support for the new ten year old OS.

That will all end in 2014 when Microsoft officially retires Windows XP. You can still use it of course, you'll just be on your own. When XP came out, it helped those who wanted a better interface than Windows 2000, and helped enterprise users who wanted more control. Now that XP has been around for so long, it's proving to be burden on Microsoft as they try to convince people to switch to Windows 7.

Microsoft has said it will not extend the lifetime of XP past 2014 in order to get more people to switch, tech blog Informationweek reported. Companies that don't upgrade could run into trouble when XP support runs out because it can take months for a large company to switch all its machines. Windows 7 came out in 2010, and now Microsoft is developing Windows 8, thought to be coming out in 2012. It will have a new interface, not unlike the Windows Phone mobile OS.

XP has been Microsoft's most successful Windows version ever. It would be easy to brush off Windows XP because of its ubiquity. After all, it's gone on for so long without many changes. Now the mobile age is bearing down on the old system, and the Windows Phone experiment is part of that. Microsoft will have to be more agile in the future, but Windows XP will keep running on many old machines.

Tell us in the comments if you use Windows and are looking forward to Windows 8.