Backlash slaps Microsoft's 'help-a-friend-dump-XP' plea

Give us Windows 7 and we'll think about it, say customers, who reject the idea of helping others migrate to Windows 8.1

Microsoft's appeal to its technically-advanced customers to help friends and family ditch Windows XP did not quite work out like the company had hoped.

Rather than jump to assist people they knew who still ran the soon-to-be-retired XP, users blasted the plea in comments appended to Microsoft's Friday entreaty.

"Ummm...how about NO? Is the word 'NO' in Microsoft's vocabulary?" asked Steve Chabot in one of those comments posted Sunday. "I will not advocate upgrades that require people to relearn the basics of a user interface or replace perfectly good hardware simply for the privilege of running an overblown phone OS."

On Friday, Microsoft asked its technically astute customers to help others migrate from Windows XP, but mentioned only Windows 8.1 as a solution. "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.

LeBlanc suggested readers assist others in either upgrading their current Windows XP personal computer to Windows 8.1 -- assuming the hardware is up to snuff -- or help them pick out a new PC to replace their aged machine.

That riled users, many of whom cited their financial straits, saying that they had neither the money for a $120 copy of Windows 8.1 much less hundreds more for a new computer. Business owners chimed in too, noting that their businesses rely on software that only run on XP or arguing that to purchase new PCs would be foolish for their bottom lines when their current computers work fine.

LeBlanc's pitch stemmed from the impending support cut-off for Windows XP. After nearly 13 years, Microsoft will provide the last public security updates for XP on April 8. After that date, Microsoft and outside security experts have predicted, those XP-powered PCs will be in the crosshairs of cyber criminals.

Others blasted LeBlanc for writing what they viewed as an advertisement for Windows 8.1. "Honestly, this sounds more like a sales pitch for Windows 8.1 than any kind of interest in what is actually best for my friends and family," said Naru in a Saturday comment. "Had the article actually mentioned both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 as options, I would be able to take it more seriously."

Microsoft has pulled Windows 7 from its own online and retail stores, and stopped selling it to retailers last October. Still, most retailers have stocked up on Windows 7, and continue to move the 2009 OS at prices between $90 and $100.

Nor has the company offered XP owners a discount on Windows 8.1 to tempt them into dumping the ancient OS.

Although the comments added to LeBlanc's blog -- and the hundreds posted to a story Computerworld published last Friday -- included a handful praising Windows 8 and 8.1, with the usual Linux fans touting the open-source OS as an alternative, most objected to the new two-headed Windows 8/8.1, which features both a traditional desktop and a new tile-based, touch-first "Metro" user interface (UI), as a replacement for XP.

"Help my family and friends get on to Windows 8.1? I wouldn't curse my worst enemy with your Windows 8.x OS," contended Dhev in a comment to LeBlanc.

And calls continued for Microsoft to reopen sales of Windows 7 and then discount the OS. "If a sub-$100 upgrade path to even Windows 7 Starter edition was available (it even ran on low-end 1GB netbooks), it would be much easier to encourage non-technical users to migrate," contended secristr, a reader of LeBlanc's blog. "Please try to help us by giving us another option besides Windows 8.1."

Windows 7 Starter was a crippled-by-design edition that Microsoft offered to computer makers then building netbooks -- small, lightweight and underpowered laptop computers. The company never sold Windows 7 Starter to users, however.

Some users noted the irony in LeBlanc's pitch, which was aimed at people who provide ad hoc Windows technical to friends and family members.

"Problem is, these are the very people telling [those friends and family] not to move to [Windows] 8, and helping them move to [Windows] 7 instead," said Paul68 in a comment to Friday's Computerworld story.

LeBlanc said he read every comment, and replied to a few, but did not touch on the underlying theme, that Windows 8.1 is a poor replacement for Windows XP and that Windows 7 would be a better fit for the stragglers still running the operating system.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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5 Comments

James

1

You can always move them to Ubuntu

Kyle

2

They seem to have locked the thread (or are censoring it) after 132 mostly negative posts.

Here is what I tried to post today, but was locked out...

I'll try to keep this simple. We don't want Win8 for the same reasons we don't want Obama care:

One size DOES NOT fit all. I use my computer the way I want to use it. I run the software I choose on the hardware I choose. I attach the peripherals that I choose. That's why I use Windows XP.

Windows 8 sends private data to M$ using SmartScreen, including the filename of the app you are installing. http://log.nadim.cc/?p=78

Windows 8 is non-intuitave, cumbersome, and ugly. Try to manage Wireless Networks in Win8. You need to know DOS style commands. http://lifehacker.com/delete-wi-fi-networks-in-windows-8-from-the-command-lin-513411677

Windows 8 has a "Kill Switch" where M$ can delete data that may be "Politically Incorrect". http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2400985,00.asp

Now, onto Windows 7:

Windows 7 has all the DRM (Digital Rights Management) Bloat as Vista. Read above the I will use MY computer as I choose. Who is M$ to say that I can't play a certain song only on x computer, but not on y computer, and only for z number of times? There is no need for this memory hungry bloat. http://reviews.cnet.com/windows/microsoft-windows-7-home/4864-3672_7-33704139-4.html

Windows 7 is Incompatible with much software. We shouldn't need to virtualize a compatible OS inside an incompatible one just to use our programs. http://www.webmasterworld.com/win7/4248165.htm

Windows 7 is Incompatible with much hardware. There is NO reason for this. http://www.sevenforums.com/installation-setup/46567-sudden-hardware-incompatibility-clean-re-install.html

Now, a breath of fresh air...

Windows XP will install and run FAST on new hardware. Drivers are available for MOST hardware. http://driverpacks.net/driverpacks/windows/xp/x86

Windows XP is configurable, and can be as much or as little as you want it. The Gamers strip out all but the necessities so it runs ultra fast. Some people like the eye candy, and you can do that too. http://customize.org/xpthemes

Windows XP has far less useless DRM Bloatware.

Windows XP DOES NOT SPY on you, unlike Win8. See SmartScreen above.

Windows XP support after April is available from the usual Antivirus/Antimalware sources.

Windows XP extended support is available from Arkoon, Google it.

Even M$ has agreed to continue MSE support for another year.

In conclusion, If you're reading this Brandon, Give us ONE GOOD REASON to spend good money for Win8.
I have far more important things to spend money on.

By the way, how about releasing SP4? Third parties will do it anyway, so why not make it official?

-Kyle

P.S. I am KEEPING my Plan, at least as far as Windows is concerned.

(I had to remove the Arkoon link due to 3K post limit here.)

Kyle

3

Arkoon link, Removed from above due to size limit.

http://www.arkoon.net/en/stormshield-2/arkoon-annonce-son-offre-de-service-extended-xp-pour-assurer-le-maintien-en-conditions-de-securite-des-postes-sous-windows-xp-apres-avril-2014/

BOFH

4

I've just posted there, so the thread is not closed.

Kyle

5

They are censoring me...

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