The end of Windows XP

Posted By: Martijn Kaijser on Apr 07, 2014 in Dev Journal
Hasta la XP, baby.

As you may have read, the official Microsoft support for Windows XP will ended at April 8th, 2014. This means the end of life for this 13 years old operating system which has fulfilled it’s purpose. After this date there will be no more updates any more, plugging possible security leaks. At the same time we have also ended support for Windows XP in the upcoming XBMC 13.0 release. It’s time to let go and move on. Some of you may still be using Windows XP including XBMC and are now becoming vulnerable in near future.

What are the options

There are several options to explore which vary in costs and difficulty depending on your skills. So let’s sum them up.

The most expensive is throwing away the hardware and just buying a new one. In this day and age it’s better to save a few bucks and keep using the old hardware of course. Be mindful that when you think you are savings some cash you might actually be spending more than you think. Older hardware have the tendency to be more power hungry than newer and smaller devices. So it could be, that after a few months you would have been better of buying new hardware. Especially when you are going to use it as a HTPC, that will be running couple of hours a day or longer. All this of course depends on the hardware you own, want to buy and your specific needs.



Either way, you have to decide which operating system you are going to be using, except of course if you are buying an Android device. You could choose again for a Windows based solution and buy a Windows 7 or 8 license. Another option is to go for one of the free Linux distributions available that have become more user-friendly for the less technical people. Each option has their pros and cons. The internet is filled with information to help you go through this.

Disclaimer: There are a many pros and cons on what flavour operating system you should use and everyone has their own opinion. We will not venture into this territory. Please do your own research on the web as there are many reviews and tutorials out there. We simply want to point out the options available to replace the old Windows XP when you want to keep using XBMC “safely”.

HTPC use only

DL_Icons_Linux-newIf you are planning to use your hardware as an HTPC only device, we would highly advice to use one of the available Linux options. This saves you the cost of purchasing a Windows license and they almost fulfil the same purpose. If you still want to have some desktop environment you could go for Ubuntu or our own XBMCbuntu which has XBMC pre-packaged into it. This saves you some hassle if you are not Linux familiar. There are cases you still need Windows. For example when you need to play encrypted bluray discs, for which you need an external player or need Microsoft Silverlight to play some web content.

openelec_logoIf you don’t need any desktop environment, the best option is to install OpenELEC. It’s a small, fast and easy to install Linux distro which includes XBMC as a dedicated media centre. The installation is quite simple when following the tutorial. OpenELEC boots directly to your favourite media centre software which is XBMC within seconds (depending on hardware). Development of OpenELEC is in close connection with Team XBMC and general support for it is great. They not only offer it for regular hardware, but also for the immensely popular Raspberry-Pi. If you are eager to try it out but are reluctant to completely wipe you current operating system to install it? No worries. You can just install it on some empty USB stick or SDCARD (given that’s adequate in size), plug it in in your computer and you are set to take it for a test drive.


Important: is the only official place anything XBMC related. This includes news, announcements, information or any XBMC installation downloads. There are of course manufacturers who also provide support with customized XBMC versions, tailored for their devices. Should you have purchased from them it would be wise to first check if it’s a known issue with that specific version. Any other third-party websites, offering you XBMC installations, or people offering you pre-installed devices, are not officially supported by Team XBMC and may contain unwanted and unsupported additions, changes and add-ons. Installing these versions is at your own risk. XBMC does not provide any media content on it’s own and comes with no add-ons installed regarding this. Should you have problems please contact the correct add-on developer or website should you experience any issues.

Discussion - 39 Comments

  • Donken Apr 07, 2014 

    Goodbye my friend it’s hard to die.

    • Bitboy Apr 07, 2014 

      Its the end of the world as we know it….

    • Anomynous Apr 08, 2014 

      It isn’t dead, the British government has paid £5.548 million to keep it running for another 12 months.

      • Bitboy Apr 13, 2014 

        Some german government offices also pay for support, but those patches and bugfix will not beeing released to the public. In fact, XP is useless for endusers.

      • Anonymous 2 Apr 18, 2014 

        Only for the Gov. Not public support.

  • Glen Apr 07, 2014 

    Might help to upgrade your PC to windows 7 starter I did that to my old p4 compaq I have runs it just fine

  • Lloyd Apr 07, 2014 

    There’s also ReactOS – for people who love both Windows and Freedom!

    • Joe D Apr 07, 2014 

      ReactOS runs terrible. If it ever moves beyond alpha, m$ would squash it.

    • Cameron VanNatta Apr 08, 2014 

      I’d be genuinely surprised if XBMC worked even halfway decently on ReactOS, though I do wish more people would contribute to it to get it that far…

    • biGdada Apr 08, 2014 

      ReactOS is not exactly usable

  • ANWAR AHMED Apr 08, 2014 

    that’s great
    it’s time for new generation
    well done

  • Coastie Apr 08, 2014 

    I’d really like to move to a HTPC running XMBCBuntu or OpenELEC, but the lack of native Netflix support is a deal breaker at the moment. There are ways around itl, but until it is native within XBMCBuntu and/or OpenELEC, they are not ready for today’s prime time. I realize that Netflix can help that along by not tieing their player to Silverlight, but in the meantime linux builds of XBMC should supply and configure something like Moonlight or Pipelight to make the transition easier.

    • Sky Winsor Tripp-Schaefer Apr 08, 2014 

      completly agree

  • Steve Apr 08, 2014 

    I have been using XBMC Ubuntu, I’s fantastic!

  • Anthony Apr 08, 2014 

    Keep in mind that since Windows Vista, every subsequent release of Windows has used LESS resources (i.e. Vista > Windows 7 > Windows 8 > Windows 8.1).

    If you are moving off XP don’t think that moving to Win7 is the best option; Windows 8.1 actually runs with much smaller footprint and requires less resources and makes a great HTPC OS.

  • Gene Novak Apr 08, 2014 

    It’s the end of support for the OS, that doesn’t mean you have to quit using it. Use Firefox, Chrome, or Opera (all of which should still be having updates for XP) as well as a 3rd party anti-virus. You can also use higher end security like Sandboxie if you’re more security conscious. It’s not like moving to 7 or 8 is easy for a lot of people. You have to completely back up your stuff and reinstall the OS, there’s no upgrade option. All programs and drivers (for printers and such) will need to be redone and a lot of older XP installs are low on memory. A lot of which have 512MB. Linux is a radical change for most, and will require a learning curve for anything beyond a very simple media center. Granted when it comes to memory it can easily handle XP requirements.

    • Someone Apr 10, 2014 

      Windows 8 is so different than previous Windows versions! It’s probabily easier to transition to Linux.

      Besides, soon software vendors won’t support XP anymore. XBMC already did it.

      • Elusien Apr 12, 2014 

        Windows 8.1 is not so different from Windows XP if you configure it to boot directly into the standard Desktop, instead of the normal Windows Start screen. I do that (I have a Windows 8 system, one running Windows 7 and one running Windows XP and my wife, who is not very computer savvy can barely tell the difference!

  • Zawa Apr 09, 2014 

    @Gene Novak
    Even if your browser and antivirus are up to date they will not protect your os if it has serious security holes. So either you keep your xp machine off the internet or you upgrade imo.

  • William ogle Apr 09, 2014 

    all not lost u you can install 2gigs of roms and install windows 7 3gigs of roms and installed windows 8

  • David Apr 10, 2014 

    Someone posted the newer windows OSs use less resources… wouldn’t that mean older systems would handle them fine and not need more ram? I believe the newer are more resource hungry. More video ram, system ram, and processor power in newer systems make it look as though they are not so hungry, but fact is the new os needs higher resources to run. I personally think Xp and windows 7…. and perhaps 2000 were the best versions. Not a fan of 8. Linux is fine if you are prepared to really learn the os. And your only as safe as your firewall is secure.

    • traxxion Jun 29, 2014 

      “Linux is fine if you are prepared to really learn the os.”

      It is also fine if you don’t EVER upgrade your packages, don’t mind shifting to a complete fresh install every 2 stable point releases and don’t mind having flaky or none existent driver support for the most rudimentary hardware. Oh and if you don’t mind kernel upgrades rendering all of your previous software and drivers useless. Oh and if you don’t mind the solutions to the stupidest problems residing in the heads of about 5 people who may or may not post the solution to said problem on the internet.

      I still tinker with Linux, but it is for these reasons that I always roll back to Windows. Linux is fine if you are happy with it the way it is. For everything else….. there’s Windows.

  • gomme600 Apr 11, 2014 

    Might be dead but I’m keeping it on my P3 server for as long as I have it ( A very long time ).

  • Kevin Apr 11, 2014 

    I realize Linux might be best for HTPC, but unfortunately there are no native Ceton drivers and with no DRM you can’t record TV. Windows 7 or 8 Media Center is the only option at the moment.

  • Bladepif Apr 15, 2014 

    That’s OK put all the Windows versions away and use Linux for all you systems. You can do everything with Linux

  • Brian Friesen Apr 15, 2014 

    To discontinue XP support so soon is short-sighted! XP shares the same code-base as Windows 2003 which IS under support for more than a year yet. So your decision to drop XP support means anyone running XP and/or 2003 cannot use the latest version of XBMC. That’s a full third of all computers in the world!

  • ouija Apr 16, 2014 

    @Coastie: Have you tried using Playon? ->
    The best solution for Netflix playback in XBMC/OpenElec (Plus Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Aereo, Crackle and more)

    It does require a machine running Windows to be connected on your network 24/7, but I use it with HTPC and love it better than any other available options at the moment.

  • John Baker Apr 18, 2014 

    Thanks for falling in line with the money grubbers @ Microsoft. XP has never been secure and will never be. NOTHING has changed. Except for abandoning the many users out there who still use the OS to run your software. Another “brilliant corporate decision.”

    • Nathan Betzen Apr 18, 2014 

      You think stopping support on XP was a financial decision? /me looks around to see how many staff we were able to lay off with this decision… oh wait, we don’t pay anybody to do this work and so save zero dollars.

  • nargeskhani Apr 18, 2014 


  • John Baker Apr 19, 2014 

    You misunderstood my post. I did not intend to imply you were dropping support based on financial reasons. Microsoft is doing that! You are just being a Lemming. :)

    You should base your dropping support for XP based on demand for it. I would say simply track the downloads of XBMC through separate download links or something. When the number of XP downloads drops off, then decide to drop support. It could be the same file, just counting which operating system it might be going to.

    Of course the decision will be made if you find it impossible to continue because of development reasons too. Like Microsoft has done with the .NET stuff. Stop supporting the development environment, then the code no longer works with the “retired” products.

    At this point I would like to say THANKS for XBMC. I did not want to sound ungrateful in any way. I just want you to stay as independent as possible. Don’t let the closed source corporations decide for you.

    When I look around, I see XP everywhere. Self checkouts at the store, ATM’s, all the desktops at my doctor’s office, hospitals and just about every other retail place I go. Most of all the consumer desktop machines I support are still running XP. The public is mostly switching to mobile OS’es in reality; iOS and Android to name two.

    It is hardware failures and lack of support for new hardware that will kill XP. Windows XP has many more years to go, much to Microsoft’s chagrin.

    • Shawn Pate Apr 20, 2014 

      I’m with you John.

      I retired an old desktop yesterday to become a media box for the kids. It’s 10 years old and I installed XP on it because that’s what the hardware was comfortable with, I’ve got the drivers, I know the OS, and it has been stable that way for years.
      It’s not on the internet, so I don’t care about security. I copy down what’s on their approved list to a 2TB removable and that’s what’s available for them to watch.

      I’m not unique, and I’m sure there are thousands of people out there who don’t care about Microsoft’s intentions to extort money out of their customers for a product already paid for years ago. Ford has no right to tell you when to stop using your car. The original builder can’t tell you that it’s time to move because your house has reached it’s expiry date. Microsoft can stop new development and patching of XP (which I’m grateful for because often the patches made it slower and unstable) but that’s no reason for XBMC and others to drop their users who still use XP, and I promise you there are a lot of us who won’t be forced into paying again for something we’ve already paid for.

      If your computer has an OS (XP) and it’s working well, then why change. I’d rather find alternatives that work with my computer and OS.

      Personally, I don’t see myself ever using a Windows 8 machine. Everything is going mobile. Between our tablets and phones everything is sorted, so when this old box finally dies it will probably be replaced with a Raspberry Pi or an Android settop box, but until then I’m not paying Microsoft again.

      Luckily I have an older version of XBMC – I’ll just use that if the new download doesn’t work. Or they can just watch movies with Media Player or VLC – poor kids. :)

      • Ck May 20, 2014 

        Hi Shawn,

        I lost my Home Screen Movie section and was looking to restore it on the forums and remembered that my ‘Frodo’ version is no longer supported. That’s part of computing life. Fortunately, these older versions continue to work well for us.

        I wanted to add that in addition to XBMC and other video players, I also have an old version of KMPlayer, version I downloaded back in ’09, I most likely got it from, since they keep older version installers for it.

        You may want to try it as a backup to XBMC. I love XBMC’s look and feel, but KMP creates thumbnails and works pretty fast. If you go that route, you may also want to look at CoreAVC, I think my version is version 2.0. It actually helps my old system play some HD video types, but it takes a little setting up within KMP’s settings. Some tutorials are out there to set that up for it. Hope it helps.

      • Ck May 23, 2014 

        I almost forgot.

        I also setup the xp versions of plex media server and plex media player, which I think I got both on the cnet website. However, I’m not sure whether the tiny links saying “direct link” for downloading showed up because of a script I may have running on Chrome or if cnet provides direct download links, since I don’t like their ad-ware installers!

        At least there are a few programs that can still serve some home media, even though plex does take a minute to setup compared to other home theater setups.

  • Wayne May 18, 2014 

    I’m using WIndows 8 on most of my current systems; however, the Dell i just had returned will become an issue soon. The biggest problem won’t be going to Linux, but what I will lose in the process – hardware compatibility with Blu-ray Playback and certain streaming packages (:cough:, Netflix.) Ahh, the headaches of support…

  • ugur Jun 21, 2014 

    im using windows xp , pentium 4 machine as media center and home game server…
    Seems to be i’ll find another GOOD media program…

    • kib Jul 04, 2014 

      - just don’t upgrade until you finally get rid of your outdated operating system.
      - Alternatively, install OpenELEC which is a minimal linux out-of-the-box experience with XBMC.

  • boby Aug 02, 2014 

    perfect system,less process,with 64gb rrd3 support.

About Kodi

Kodi is a free and open source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium. Kodi is available for multiple operating-systems and hardware platforms, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.