Dear Windows XP,

As you ride off into the sunset and enjoy a well-deserved retirement I wanted to pause a moment to reflect on where we’ve been. I remember when we first met in college. I installed you in an effort to escape your reckless younger brother, Windows Millennium.  True, you were pirated but it was 2002 and everyone was doing it. I’ve developed scruples since then and it won’t happen again.

Just like every operating system your patriarch launched before and since, you were going to be a game-changer and the flagship OS of Microsoft.  Only difference with you, they were right.  Nothing that has come since has been quite so comfortable. I’m reminded of that scene in Wayne’s World where Garth describes the new TV studio, “It’s like a new pair of underwear: At first, it’s constrictive, but after a while it becomes a part of you.” Windows XP, you have become a part of us.  From ATMs to phone systems to business workstations to hosting SQL databases, much of our productivity is built on your labor.  And for that, we thank you.

Of course, there were good times and bad, as there always will be with hardware-agnostic software, but we worked together to overcome those challenges. I would ask you to install a new printer, and you would give me an error message. But we updated the drivers and got through it together. You helped me learn networking. The first TCP/IP stack I ever refreshed was from your command line. Good times.

Then when your new more attractive cousin, the tablet, started stealing market share I knew you’d reached the beginning of the end.  I didn’t say anything because you were so happy with your booting and patching, but the writing was on the white board.  You re-branded yourself to be a touch screen but we both knew that wouldn’t last. Therefore, you are wise to exit gracefully.  Today may be your final day of support, but you will endure in the binary of our conscience, and on my Lenovo Netbook circa 2007. So relax, brush up on your Microsoft Links game, and prepare to take your place next to the Apple II, Nintendo, and Motorola Razr. We look forward to looking back nostalgically on our Windows XP days.

Kindest Regards,