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Windows XP turns 10, still thrives

Ten years ago this week, Microsoft released Windows XP, which became one of its most popular flavors of the Windows operating system — largely because what came after it, Windows Vista, was so terrible.

And while many of us will be looking to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 8 when it becomes available — no date is set, but it could be late next summer — there are still plenty of folks using XP. (And you probably know this, but Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

In StatCounter's chart, above, in the United States, XP still ranks as the top operating system, followed by Windows 7 and — gulp — Windows Vista. Vista was security-laden to the point of sluggishness and resulted in lots of user frustration. Microsoft remains so sensitive about the slowness issue from Vista's days that it has made a big point of saying that Windows 8 will boot super fast.

Microsoft is still providing "extended" (that means: you pay) tech support for XP patches and security updates through April 2014.

Globally, XP's reach is even larger than in the U.S.:

"Happy Tenth Birthday, Windows XP. Now Please Die," is the headline Tuesday from NetworkWorld, which says that the operating system's "longevity has allowed XP to take root and outlast its welcome. Consumers have been quicker to ditch XP for Windows 7 while businesses hem and haw and slowly test a decade's-worth of custom apps on Windows 7. The current economic situation isn't helping one iota as budgets are constrained from Wall St. to Main St."

And while budgets are a big factor, so is comfort level. Many who have stayed with XP just find it like a well-worn slipper, not ready to be thrown out and too comfy to give up. If you're a Windows user, which version do you have? Take our poll above.

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