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Microsoft: best way to upgrade from XP is to buy a new PC

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By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 10 Feb 2014 at 12:30

The best way to upgrade from Windows XP is to buy a new PC, according to Microsoft.

That's the advice it's doling out via a Windows blog post marking 60 days until the end of support for the ageing XP.

Communications manager Brandon LeBlanc notes that readers of the official Windows blog are "unlikely" still to be running XP on their PCs - and backs this up with data in the comments - but suggests that "you may know someone who is and have even served as their tech support".

Microsoft has therefore created a help page to make it easier for IT-savvy users to explain the looming end of support to their less technically skilled friends and family. One recommendation is to run the Windows Upgrade Assistant to see if their machine can run Windows 8.1.

However, LeBlanc suggests the best approach is to get a new PC - a statement Microsoft's PC-making partners will appreciate, in light of stalling hardware sales.

"The easiest path to Windows 8.1 is with new devices and there are offers and deals from many retailers to help people get a new device," he said, pointing to the many discount offers available.

Tough convincing

The advice hasn't been popular among the very readers of the blog that Microsoft is asking to help their less tech-savvy friends.

One wrote that it would be hard to convince people to upgrade to a new PC running Windows 8.1, which "isn’t an attractive choice to begin with".

"Most of the people I know feel like they are forced to buy a new computer for money which they don’t have, and forced to upgrade to a new version of Windows which they aren’t convinced is a good choice," the commenter noted.

Another echoed concerns over the cost of upgrading, saying she'd been hit hard by the struggling economy. "I understand your need to discontinue support for older programs. It's an expense of time and money that could be used to develop new products," noted Ruth Brown.

"But I am nearing retirement age, and with money tight, and possibly tight for the foreseeable future, I don't know when I'll be able to upgrade to a new Windows product." She asked for Microsoft to extend support for XP.

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User comments

Upgrade my mum and dad's PCs from XP to 8.1?

No thank you. It would require a level of helpdesk support from me that I can't contemplate while I still have a day job.

By revsorg on 10 Feb 2014

If you've still got a PC that pre-dates Win7's 2009 release

...then it should be on the antiques roadshow!

You can easily pick up a sub-£350 PC with Windows (7 or 8) and they're both a damn sight easier to use than XP.

If my mother-in-law can use Windows 7 without instruction, then anybody can!

And Windows 8 is the same OS (but faster). Don't swallow any FUD to the contrary. The only difference is you need to load a START button App (Start8, ClassicShell, etc.), much as you HAD to install a working web browser when you installed XP.

The only people still using XP are local government, who buy Win7 PC's and then wipe them to install XP, because wasting time & money is a way of life in the public sector.

By cheysuli on 10 Feb 2014

Depending on usage users could try Linux, my mums netbook is running Mint just fine for basic browsing.

In regards to new PC vs upgrade it really depends on the age of the hardware, something from a few years back may run fine and have W7/8 drivers available but something older may struggle.

One thing MS could do though is supply a start menu, the best way from what I've seen to transition people to W8.

By tech3475 on 10 Feb 2014

Cheysuli = wrong

"The only people still using XP are local government, who buy Win7 PC's and then wipe them to install XP, because wasting time & money is a way of life in the public sector."

I work in the Public Sector and all our computers are Windows 7 and have been for the last year. Core I5 processors with 8gb ram.

You will probably say we are wasting money on overspecified kit.

By Manuel on 10 Feb 2014

An essential service?

I find this whole issue of Microsoft's plans to discontinue Window's XP fascinating.

I work in pharmaceuticals. We have many medicines that are extremely old, but are obliged by law (quite rightly) to continue supporting them due to unmet medical need.

Ok, so there are other operating systems availble, but given the number of PCs around the world still running this OS, should Microsoft be forced to continue supporting it as an "essential service"?

By mystic_dan on 10 Feb 2014

Give Ubuntu a go!

Like many people, I suppose, I have several elderly relatives and family friend who have still been running XP. I have been helping them move to Ubuntu 12.04, and it has been relatively painless. They can still use their existing hardware - including vintage printers and scanners etc - and for their typical Email/Web/Office/Photography uses Linux is more than adequate these days. Current Linux applications tend to be a bit simpler and have more traditional interfaces than Windows equivalents - this further helps such users. This book is a good place to start:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ubuntu-Made-Easy-Project-B
ased-Introduction/dp/1593274254

By BinghamStephen on 10 Feb 2014

Give Ubuntu a go!

Like many people, I suppose, I have several elderly relatives and family friend who have still been running XP. I have been helping them move to Ubuntu 12.04, and it has been relatively painless. They can still use their existing hardware - including vintage printers and scanners etc - and for their typical Email/Web/Office/Photography uses Linux is more than adequate these days. Current Linux applications tend to be a bit simpler and have more traditional interfaces than Windows equivalents - this further helps such users. This book is a good place to start:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ubuntu-Made-Easy-Project-B
ased-Introduction/dp/1593274254

By BinghamStephen on 10 Feb 2014

Give Ubuntu a go!

Like many people, I suppose, I have several elderly relatives and family friend who have still been running XP. I have been helping them move to Ubuntu 12.04, and it has been relatively painless. They can still use their existing hardware - including vintage printers and scanners etc - and for their typical Email/Web/Office/Photography uses Linux is more than adequate these days. Current Linux applications tend to be a bit simpler and have more traditional interfaces than Windows equivalents - this further helps such users. This book is a good place to start:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ubuntu-Made-Easy-Project-B
ased-Introduction/dp/1593274254

By BinghamStephen on 10 Feb 2014

@mystic_dan

How do you support pharmaceuticals? I assume you mean you have to keep manufacturing them? Just curious...

By PlanetOfTheGrapes on 11 Feb 2014

Microsoft Cunning Plan?

(With apologies to Baldrick).

The cunning plan?

Tell folk that instead of having to do a fresh install of Win 8 (or Win 7 come to that) to migrate away from XP just buy a new PC.

Large numbers of folk still use XP. They don't want to migrate to Win 8 because they use desktop (mouse/keyboard) systems and they have heard a lot of comment about how clunky Win 8 is on a non-touch device.

My suspicion is that given a choice most XP users would migrate to Win 7.

Just my opinion. YMMV.

By jontym123 on 11 Feb 2014

Wonder how many of those folks still using a windows xp pc have a disk drive that's exceeded it's expected lifetime and may die at any time taking their photos with it. Or have a pc that is running really slowly and complaining about lack of disk space (recent case with friends) due to them filling it up with photos. Using a computer until it dies is a bad idea.

By irturner on 11 Feb 2014

Use XpExtend

This is exactly why XpExtend is on the market. There are hundreds of millions of perfectly-good machines still running XP and older software.

Check out xpextend[dot]com for more info!

By xpextend on 12 Feb 2014

@PlanetOfTheGrapes

Yep, just have to keep manufacturing regardless of cost to the company.

By mystic_dan on 12 Feb 2014

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