Users Mock Microsoft for Asking Their Help on XP-to-Windows 8.1 Upgrades

Astute Windows users have pointed out the Achilles Heel of Microsoft's plea for help in getting customers to dump Windows XP: The lack of a smooth upgrade path to Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 8.1.

By Gregg Keizer
Mon, February 24, 2014

Computerworld — Astute Windows users have pointed out the Achilles Heel of Microsoft's plea for help in getting customers to dump Windows XP: The lack of a smooth upgrade path to Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 8.1.

"Wait. Wait. Wait just a minute here," wrote someone identified as "nephilim" in a comment added Thursday to a Microsoft blog. "You are suggesting I upgrade people from XP to Windows 8.x? But that's impossible. There is a major problem with [Microsoft's] suggestion. You (Microsoft) have made Windows 8 and 8.1 incapable of upgrading from Windows XP. I simply can't upgrade anyone, including myself, to Windows 8. It's impossible."

Nephilim was reacting to a Feb. 7 pitch by Microsoft that asked its technically-adroit customers to help friends and family still running Windows XP ditch the OS in favor of Windows 8.1. Microsoft will deliver the last public patches for the XP on April 8, after which users will be on their own, and -- as security professionals have pointed out -- in the crosshairs of cyber criminals.

"We need your help spreading the word to ensure people are safe and secure on modern up-to-date PCs," wrote Brandon LeBlanc, a Microsoft marketing communications manager, in a blog post two weeks ago. LeBlanc asked his readers to assist others in either upgrading their current Windows XP PC to Windows 8.1 or help them pick out a new machine to replace their aged system.

The problem with the upgrade option, as nephilim and others noted, is that there's no way to transform a PC running XP into one running Windows 8.1 without hours spent reinstalling applications and restoring files from a back-up.

In fact, before the official launch of Windows 8.1, LeBlanc warned users not to even try an XP-to-Windows 8.1 upgrade.

"Windows 8.1 is not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista," LeBlanc said last September. LeBlanc also said the new update is "not recommended" for hardware now running Windows XP or Vista.

Users of XP can upgrade first to Windows 8 -- keeping data files, such as documents and photos, intact -- and after that grab the free Windows 8.1 update. (Microsoft has also said it is possible to upgrade straight from XP to Windows 8.1 with a "clean" install that retains nothing because it involves wiping the hard drive.)

A more thorough upgrade for Windows XP users is possible to Windows 7, a migration that preserves files and settings, but still requires the user to reinstall all the Windows applications they were running.

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Originally published on www.computerworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
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