Throwing old code away

Following Microsoft’s retiring of Windows XP on 30th June, there has been a lot of talk on the Internet on how Windows XP is better Windows Vista. I love Windows Vista and I have been using it from Beta days. I will never even dream of going back to XP. Why?.

  • The UAC prompts are certainly annoying, needs to be turned off for a “Developer” machine which is what I did on my Work PC. I have it ON on my Home PC and Laptop and it works great on both machines. It gives me confidence that no rogue application can harm my PC or data
  • The Visual Aero interface certainly makes the user experience more pleasing. After all, you are staring at your PC for more than 8 hours a day, so why not have some pleasing effects in it
  • Last and the most important for me is the integrated Search. With the new Windows Desktop Search 4.0 which made the search in Vista faster, I cannot think of going back to Windows XP. The convenience of searching from Start button or in any Explorer Windows is a sure productivity gain

If you are wondering why am I talking about Vista here which is not connected to the title of this post, the answer is in the next paragraph.

Microsoft rightfully abandoned the original Windows XP code and started Vista (internally called Refreshed the code) from the more stable Windows Server 2003 code base (as reported a few years back in WSJ). Now few critics of Vista are asking Microsoft to scrap Vista code-base and to start a new Windows OS from scratch – something like basing it on MinWin kernel. Within “Techies” there is always an urge to do everything from scratch – this is one of the never-ending arguments in the Software industry. Is it good to keep patching a code/application (or) to bite the bullet, scrap the code and rewrite from scratch? I believe there is no single correct answer for this and it depends on the parameters.  But the question keeps coming up in daily situations. To answer that read Joel Spolsky’s post back from 2000 – I don’t agree with many of his recent posts but this post is a masterpiece and a must read for all developers.

Also published on Medium.


  • The post is quite interesting. Joel’s post reference gives more insight.

    Starting from the scratch is not a good idea when it is possible to tweak the code for making it better.