Technology

It’s Come to This: Microsoft Nags Windows XP Holdouts To Upgrade

In case you're still on Windows XP and have been otherwise living under a rock, Microsoft is about to tell you to upgrade via occasional "nag screens." It also is working on making it slightly easier to upgrade.

We’re just about a month away from the end-of-support date for Windows XP, and Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to get folks to upgrade.

The latest move? A literal “nag screen.”

That’s right, starting Saturday, Microsoft will put up occasional on-screen messages on still-operating Windows XP computers asking users to upgrade—and warning them that, if they don’t, they could be putting themselves in danger of being hit by viruses. Here’s a sample of the message you’re likely to see:

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“The notification will reoccur on the 8th of every month unless disabled by the user,” Brandon LeBlanc, a Microsoft marketing communications manager, wrote on the Windows Experience Blog.

The company won’t be nagging XP users through the OS alone, either—the Microsoft Security Essentials anti-malware app also may receive the alerts, according to ZDNet’s Larry Seltzer. A sample of that message is here:

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It’s just the latest effort to get users to upgrade ahead of the extended support deadline—an effort that has taken the form of pleading blog posts, elaborate websites, price cuts for manufacturer versions of Windows 8.1, and even the rumored release of a free version of Windows 8.1.

A Last-Ditch Deal

But one of the biggest issues consumers face is that it’s currently very hard to upgrade from XP to a newer version of Windows. In a blog post last month, LeBlanc noted that to upgrade, users had to format their hard drives—which led to scathing criticism from commenters. The company has a response for that issue, in the form of a third-party app: Laplink’s PCMover Express software, a free tool that’s essentially an outdated version of the for-money PCMover version, that allows users to easily move settings from one machine to another.

If that sounds like exactly what you need, don’t get too excited: Your mileage may vary, according to InfoWorld’s Serdar Yegulalp.

While the software allows you to recover settings from the old machine, “the program doesn’t support migration of actual installed applications, which many existing XP users might badly need,” Yegulalp explains. “Legacy XP users might not have access to installation media for the programs they’ve been running for so long. A more upscale edition of PCMover that transfers applications is available for a cost, but the track record for such programs is generally weak, and they’re fraught with unexpected issues.”

Hey, there’s always Google’s Chromebook, which has recently made moves to encroach on Windows’ territory.

Laplink's PCMover Express software, which Microsoft is giving to Windows XP users for free to encourage them to upgrade. (Microsoft press photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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