Several comments in reply to the above:
1. Don't know how this got shifted into Q's about finding XP key. A quick search of Google for "xp keyfinder" will quickly find several free utilities that will quickly find and report the key to just about any Windows version.
2. In reply to Seth, about staff at computer stores being "woefully unknowlegeable", try to avoid sweeping generalizations like that. Most may be, but there are exceptions. I've found 2 guys in particular at the Help Desk at my local Micro Center store to be good, and I will find a way to get a computer to either of those two guys, if I have to take it there. I've worked with at least 8 computer service specialists over the years, who come to my house/office to fix problems, and I would rank those 2 guys at Micro Center as being as good as all but 2 of the best guys I've encountered.
3. WRT Win7 being a better program, I don't disagree, and I would mention that a "family 3-pack" of the Home Premium version, licensed for 3 different computers, is still available via places such as Amazon, even though most stores no longer carry it. My problem is, I've still got a lot of XP software, and I was hoping to bypass Win7 and delay that unwelcome transition until the new Win8 system reaches at least a "Service Pack 1" level of stability. Is that stupid, or some kind of conspiracy theory? No. That's just logic and common sense.
4. Anyone who reads Jimmy's comments should realize that he's got a serious problem, in dealing with people rather than computers. I didn't show up with wild-eyed conspiracy theories, about malevolent plots within Microsoft to sabotage computers. Instead, I showed up based on 3 specific examples, which I did indeed encounter, all of which "indicate" (that is actually is a rather useful word, quite helpful when used properly; the problem is, people like Jimmy often try to twist and distort it into things it didn't originally mean, if they want to abuse it for their own purposes) that problems are gradually creeping into the WinXP update system, which is no longer a major profit center for MS. So, I raised a reasonable Q, and Jimmy launched into a set of attacks and tantrums, apparently because he didn't like me raising what was, and what remains, a reasonable Q.
Here's a quick comment by an experienced attorney: did anyone notice that when Jimmy "replied" to my Q about whether he might work for MS, he tried to change the subject, and the focus, back to me, with a bunch of aggressive and distracting attacks against me, without ever actually answering the question? The best comment I can offer is, Jimmy, I wish I could take you on, in a deposition. You'd be fun.
I've seen a lot of potentially talented inventors (and talented computer programmers, too, mainly through my wife), who seem to think that talent and creativity ENTITLE them to be arrogant, aggressive, and abusive toward anyone else who (i) might be competition, and might try to steal the spotlight and attention that THEY think THEY deserve; or (ii) doesn't see the world in quite exactly the same way as they do, and who therefore are clearly wrong and defective, in their reasoning and mental abilities.
Without getting into the difficult questions of whether, when, and to what extent real and true talent DOES or CAN entitle someone to be an aggressive ****** toward others, the basic truth I try to steer and guide inventors and others toward, is that it won't help -- ever -- to act like an aggressive ******. It just puts people off, and makes them LESS willing to listen (and less willing to try to actually understand what the ****** is trying to say).
So, good luck, Jimmy, with your efforts to vent your anger and frustration (and I'm sure there's a LOT of it) toward anyone who happens to cross your path. If you ever get serious about wanting to become a better person, the two books on human psychology and self-improvement that I would recommend are:
(1) The Denial of Death, by Ernest Becker. It was written by a professor who had been teaching psychology for 40 years, and who was dying of cancer. He did his absolute level best to summarize everything he had learned, about why humans do what they do, in his final book. It won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. Skip the chapter on Kierkegaard, the first time through it; it's a digression that doesn't help the main thrust. Other than that, it's a great, great book, about people, and humanity, and why people act the way they act.
(2) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. It's been on the best-seller lists for years, because it really is one of the best self-help books ever written. No one can make you change, except through violence or other unacceptable means; only you can change yourself. The problem is, people don't change because they want to. They change, only when they realize they will not be happy again, unless and until something about them changes.
I would also mention that Covey's follow-up book, "The 8th Habit", takes up an entire book to expand on a simple theme: "This 8th habit is to find your voice, and to inspire others to find theirs".
Focus on the word, "and" in that sentence. It is not enough to just "find your own voice". Jimmy, you clearly have found your own voice, for now. The problem is, it is filled with arrogance, aggression, and abusiveness. Okay, so that's your voice, and your style, for now. But that kind of self-expression, by you, will never, ever be able to reach or even remotely approach the "and" requirement of what Covey formulates as the key to greatness and leadership. Instead of inspiring others to also find their own voices, you seem determined to try to drive them in the opposite direction, into submission to you, your will, and your viewpoint, by using abuse and mockery to try to taunt and offend them.
Dude, that is never going to make you happy. And it's never going to make you a better person.
So -- to anyone and everyone else -- one of the key factors, in measuring and defining true intelligence, is whether you can learn, not just from your own mistakes, but from the mistakes of others. I sincerely hope you can look at how Jimmy communicates, and tell yourself -- in a way that manages to cut through the outer shells and layers, and resonate and be heard in the center -- "Hmm . . . that really isn't the best way to communicate. I can, and I should, find better ways."
Now, back to the start, to complete and close the circle, and to try to focus attention on the real and serious question here. As described above, I've seen not just 1, and not just 2, but three different specific instances, where XP updates ended up pushing 3 different computers into "non-working" status. So, I have raised a Q, as a serious and realistic Q that I believes deserves consideration by others:
Is it time to stop running XP updates?
Now, the Q of how to protect computers against viruses and other malware is a related and overlapping Q, but it is -- importantly -- a different question. Obviously, anyone and everyone needs good anti-virus software. So, that gets into a different set of Q's, about whether a computer which is running at least two such programs (such as MS Security Essentials, combined with any or all of Spybot, AdAware, Malwarebytes, etc.) also NEEDS to add the "malicious software removal tool" that MS issues every month.
And, what would people recommend as a combination of the two-best-when-combined "safety/security/anti-virus" programs that are currently available, today, for an XP machine, and for a Win7 machine?
That's a separate question, and we shouldn't try to tackle it in THIS thread. I assume it has already been addressed elsewhere. Can anyone provide links to a couple of good threads which address THAT question?