Microsoft's Begging Now

Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2014 - 07:26 PM |
Tagged: windows xp, windows, microsoft

Windows XP will be end-of-life in just 59 days and Microsoft is concerned. They want to enlist their blog readers as tech support who encourages the upgrade to Windows 8.1 directly, or by the purchase of a new PC. Of course, they are not going to provide any incentive or discount. They just hope that a little peer pressure is all they need.

I will not beat someone up for being a dreamer, but...

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The security nightmare is real, however. It is expected that attackers are hoarding vulnerabilities until after April 8th, when open security holes will remain without patch. Some customers will be allowed paid extra support, apparently at the price of $200 per PC for a year. Of course, this is common practice and can limit the number affected by the rumored malware apocalypse.

Then again, I expect that plenty of those machines are already ripe with infection.

Microsoft seems to be hoping that the exodus from Windows XP will land in Windows 8.1 and solve two problems at once. Windows 7 is still available in devices and resellers who stocked up on old installation media, both in spite of Microsoft (rather than endorsed).

For the rest of us, sit back and watch. I will make a crazy prediction and claim that, sometime between now and June, Microsoft should flinch in some way. It could be the re-introduction of Windows 7, some promotion or discount for retailers or system builders, or whatever.

I think they will be disappointed by April.


Source: Windows Blog

February 8, 2014 | 08:37 PM - Posted by David Bley (not verified)

Our household has 4 computers running XP, one running Vista, and an iPad. I have been researching linux distributions, linux applications to replace the software we use and open source XP clones. It is very unlikely that we will either upgrade to win 7 or 8 and it is unlikely that we will buy new machines. I would be glad to remove myself from the MS death grip.

February 8, 2014 | 09:42 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Yeah, I wanted to mention Linux but I decided not to bother.

February 8, 2014 | 08:58 PM - Posted by praack

most business are still in the process of switching to windows 7. bit microsoft will still be able to claim license sales since they have to buy laptops and such- and everything will come with a useless win 8 install that needs to be wiped to replace with an enterprise 7 install.

but 8? not for 99% of business

as for home- most people will use what is on the machine until it dies, then buy a new one.

February 8, 2014 | 09:33 PM - Posted by biohazard918

Or they will buy a new pc or install win 7 at the urgings of their tech savvy relatives

February 9, 2014 | 10:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

HP is offering laptops downUpgraded to windows 7, and the probook SKUs also ship with SUSE linux preinstalled, if you want, so the probook line also can run an OEM supported version of linux that is sure to have driver availability for the probook SKUs. My windows 7 probook will be running both windows 7, and SUSE and come 2020, or later, depending on M$ extending 7's life a little longer, I can just delete the windows OS partition. I wonder how many of the windows 8 pro versions that came on computers have been reimaged to windows 7. I do not expect windows 9 to come to market without a closed app ecosystem integrated into the OS in some way or form, and I will not be upgrading beyond windows 7. I expect my third party OEM PC/Laptop hardware to not be tied to a revolving revenue stream of the supplier of an OS, and any app store tie ins need to be a made totally optional download and install at a later time, at the my option. Most business model laptops/PCs offer more in the way of OS choice, than the consumer oriented SKUs.

February 10, 2014 | 01:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I've not met a single IT guy who hasn't been seriously annoyed by Win 8.

February 11, 2014 | 09:11 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I would be said IT Guy. Just last night i took a Thinkpad T440 that shipped with downgraded windows 7 pro and move it back to windows 8.1 pro. Windows 8.1 boots faster, feels faster and has bitlocker. With the addition of boot to desktop, the start button and hiding the metro apps users are adapting easily.

February 11, 2014 | 12:36 PM - Posted by nobodyspecial (not verified)

You sir are alone... :)
I don't understand how you're in IT but think bitlocker isn't in win7. I also don't understand how you can be in IT and think boot times are important. I do that monthly these days at home and only when windows updates hit at work and nobody does it more than once a day in any company I've been at unless they're installing an app or updates or something (not daily). Updates are applied after hours and rebooted while they're gone. They come in click the mouse and log on. Boot times are rarely even seen by most users in enterprise. They see resume from sleep and that's about it.

If you think users are adapting easily to Win8 you work for MS. :) If you were anywhere near correct it wouldn't just be about to pass windows Vista in installs it would be smacking around win7's installed base...LOL. Internal employees at microsoft wouldn't be calling it Vista rev2 either. Your company should fire anyone rolling out Win8 in IT unless they are VERY small and can hold users hands (and even then what for? Win7 until 2020, nothing gained moving to 8 vs. the amount of productivity lost to BS questions and unfamiliarity). They fired the Win8 Product manager (Steven Sinofsky, 1 week after it hit) for a reason, and so should YOU if some manager wants to roll it out. If MS won't even keep the guy that was heading up the project why the heck would you roll it out? They thought he failed so miserably they fired him for Win8...ROFLMAO. Even if I hadn't used win8 for a few weeks first that would be enough for me to run from it in enterprise. Maybe I'd test/use it at home but not at work under any circumstance.

You can't get much work done with the phone ringing all day with users asking "where did x go", "where did y go" etc etc forever. Feels faster? Feels and IS faster are two different things, and even the FEELS part is the same on an SSD. Why run mechanical when 120GB SSD covers almost every enterprise users needs and you can determine failure BEFORE it strikes on these. Boot times are seconds not minutes even in XP.

Start button isn't fully back (maybe win 9 will wise up), and there's still more clicks to do pretty much anything in win8 vs win7 which makes any FEELING you might have moot. You actually ARE slowed down by win8 as REAL productivity dives for most users not to mention the phone ringing for techs. My dad didn't last a 2 weeks and he's been on Pc's for 30yrs+ and LOVES new windows versions (anything shiny and new, install it now...LOL - I hold the family up not him). I have another 'downgrade' to do for my dad's brother now too (new dell machine). Had win8 for a few months and has had it with it now. Switching to win7 this week as it was hard enough for him to learn that after xp for 11yrs. He gave it far more time than me (2 weeks too) as he's pushing 4 months almost, but was complaining about 1/2 way. Now he sees no gain, and has a few apps he just can't get to work. I could probably get those to work myself, but he's in another state and it's not worth my time if he's already wanting win7 and I'd rather troubleshoot that remotely for the next 6yrs instead of ever learning win8.

It's comic when people have to cite stuff like boot times & "feelings" as a reason to spend $130+ for an OS. Bitlocker doesn't come in home versions. So you're $130+ if that's what you're after. But boot times? Really? :( I hope you're not really serious. At most you should just buy an SSD for that user and stay on win7 (if not on SA etc), or just pocket the cost savings and call it a day. At best you're on SA so just downgrade any incoming machines to win7 anyway with no cost. We order our machines blank to save costs per machine for NO OS install then image the day they arrive.

February 12, 2014 | 03:04 AM - Posted by someonenotalone (not verified)

If you have managed Windows licenses in recent times you should be able to understand the dilemma surrounding Windows 7 and BitLocker.

Allow me to clarify.

BitLocker is an available feature on:
* Windows 7, ENTERPRISE Edition
* Windows 8, PROFESSIONAL Edition

The problem here is that Windows Enterprise (for both 7 and 8) is available only through Software Assurance (a yearly subscription). Lets ignore Windows 7 Ultimate for the time being as it is a retail SKU and thus not feasible for large deployments where KMS is a requirement.

Thus many enterprises requiring BitLocker are left in a rather unpleasant situation of deciding between "Pay less, and use Windows 8" versus "Pay more, maintain our sanity, and use Windows 7".

And not everyone is in a situation to afford Software Assurance.

[P.S. Do note that I am not defending Windows 8 in any way. Our migration, completed during a time when Windows 8.1 Preview was available, was to Windows 7.]

February 12, 2014 | 10:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Windows XP boots in minutes, not seconds.

Windows XP sucks the slow lane.

February 8, 2014 | 11:03 PM - Posted by Trot (not verified)

The article makes it sound as though MS suddenly needs help from every quarter to save them from themselves. In fact, every technically literate person with half a brain has been trying to get people to dump XP for a long time.

For themselves, at this point, I honestly don't care if XP users start getting hammered with malware attacks. For the most part, they've had the warnings, and they know the danger that's waiting for them. Of course, it's not just confined to them, when many of the attacks will no doubt lead to increased bot-netting.

So, aside from the personal distaste for MS, why the negative tone? Why make them look like the bad guys, when they're just trying to sunset a decrepit, insecure, and in every way ready-to-die OS?

This is a case, it seems to me, where the two reasonable courses of action are either to lend a hand, or to get out of the way.

February 9, 2014 | 01:13 AM - Posted by pdjblum

I recall switching from xp to win 2000 immediately. I got win 7 pro for cheap when it was released. I figured I would dual boot to slowly work my way into using win 7 primarily, but once I installed win 7, I never looked back. Now I have the win 7 box and a centOS box. All the people I helped install win 7 never again used the dual xp installation I left for them. Will not go to win 8 though; might eventually transition completely to linux, especially if gaming on linux gets up to par with windows, which Steam seems to be pushing for.

February 9, 2014 | 04:08 PM - Posted by Branthog

I love linux.
I love Steam.

That said, I think we'll see gaming on linux be on-par with gaming on windows about the time that we *finally* have "the year of linux on the desktop".

February 9, 2014 | 01:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have win XP pro and Linux Mint and a few other Linux distros on my computer.

I rarely use Win XP now because Linux Mint 16 Mate Edition is much better than Win XP.

By the way Linux has no viruses. You have to force install a virus yourself.

I am for freedom and people can run whatever OS they like on their computer.

Actually, you can extend the life of your computer by running a Linux distro.

Today, I upgraded my Linux Mint Kernel to 3.13.2.

February 9, 2014 | 05:33 AM - Posted by Zicoz (not verified)

Yes, because a comparison between a band new version of a Linux distro and a 13 year old version of Windows is fair :)

Viruses aren't really a problem on Windows either these days unless you do something crazy.

February 9, 2014 | 12:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

And lets be honest. You have to forcefully install malware on Windows machines as well. They don't just magically get there lol. Chalk most of those issues up to stupid users and vulnerabilities that make it easier, but in the end it's the same. In the past few years malware creators have already proved they could target Linux/Mac OSX just as easy if they wanted. There just isn't a market for it.

Linux servers and software is heavily targeted because of their market share.

February 12, 2014 | 09:32 AM - Posted by whiplash55

Try Zorin OS, a Ubuntu variant. You can make the desktop emulate XP or 7 if you wish.

February 9, 2014 | 03:06 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

my father has an Xp rig with specific hardware that is not forward compatible. So he won't be upgrading. if anything, he'll not upgrade until the hardware dies. It's 11 years old.

February 9, 2014 | 04:46 AM - Posted by JohnGR (not verified)

I still have XP in one of my PCs, Vista in the second one and Windows 7 in the third one. I did downloaded Windows 8 to test it. Didn't liked it for desktop usage. I didn't even bother getting and testing 8.1. As for the vulnerability in the older OSes, it is simple, or I think it is. Antivirus + antimalware + firewall. Haven't really had a problem. You see the biggest vulnerability in every OS is the user. If you know what pages to NOT visit, what links to NOT follow, what pop ups to NOT answer with yes, what email to send to the trash bin unopened, an oldest MS OS isn't really a problem.

February 9, 2014 | 06:42 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I agree somewhat, but that's what they created drive-by installs for...

February 9, 2014 | 05:33 AM - Posted by dragosmp (not verified)

For home users they must come with an offer. The thesis Microsoft wants to sell is that you pay 120$ per computer in order to have updates that would prevent Windows vulnerabilities.
*but not any other type of vulnerabilities (flash, java, etc)
*regular users (that have XP) don't see the difference between a Win vulnerability and an x86 program vulnerability that runs on Windows.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the payoff just isn't apparent for non-techs to upgrade from XP to 7/8, while the 120$ cost per rig is quite obvious.

It seems to me there is an opportunity for MS to sell W8 licenses at dumping prices (and save face saying it's "for security") which would achieve two things: remove XP and promote W8.

February 9, 2014 | 07:43 AM - Posted by ThorAxe

Our household has 5 PCs and 3 laptops (2 are touch). 3 PCs and all the laptops have Windows 8.1. The remaining 2 PCs have Windows 7.

I initially didn't like Windows 8 since I spend 99% of the time on the desktop but a little bit of perseverance and learning got me to love it. I now prefer it to Windows 7.

I honestly don't see what all the fuss is about. If you really don't want to use a few keyboard shortcuts or have trouble adapting then just get Start8 or something similar.

February 9, 2014 | 11:55 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

its easier and more fun for them to troll and b*tch.

February 9, 2014 | 12:23 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The problem is you need multiple third-party apps to get it remotely to your liking compared to the previous OSes. Apps that shouldn't be needed in the first place if Microsoft just left them in. Microsoft purposely tried to block over 40 hacks during the Beta phase to bring back the 1-for-1 Start Menu, Themes, and Aero that was still in the OS. It was in the damn OS and they purposely made it so now you need some third-party apps that only get 90% there.

Don't get me started with the clustered Explorer Window, flat Windows, and the worst too dominate color schemes in any OS ever made. It isn't just about one issue like everyone keeps thinking for the past 2 years. As much as people want to bitch about Windows 8, those defending it are extremely narrow minded themselves as if a start button was the sole reason for the hate.

February 12, 2014 | 10:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I am not narrow minded and I use Windows 8.1 fine.

The right-click on the Start Button brings up all the commands you need on Windows 8.1 and using the Keyboard Shortcut of "Windows" key and the "X" key brings up the same thing on Windows 8.1 dumbo.

February 9, 2014 | 07:44 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It's not you or your family that Microsoft targets. It's those large companies and businesses.
They will try to influence those companies to switch to Win 8 and charge premium for the logistic and execution.

However, for a Bank the cost of Windows is the smallest evil. It's those servers, specialized software (always compatible with one OS at a time) and employees working with them that is the problem. The costs for, let's say, new FlexCube, Accounting software, employee training and the operational risks are enormous.
...not to mention, that for a very large portion of those employees such software switching will be a nightmare. So many irreversible mistakes are possible.
I'm curious to see if such windows switching will ever happen... But as the article points..I too think that Microsoft will be disappointed - not only in April.

February 9, 2014 | 08:30 AM - Posted by drbaltazar (not verified)

not secure ? seriously ! stop going to Colorado Microsoft ! clearly Microsoft smoked good stuff ! for ms to not be ignore you have to be as secure as blackberry ! this is the lowest rung of the future lather ! s.q.r.l isn't going away ! people will adopt that with you or against you tech giant ! the whole planet will probably have to find a way to send and receive data without decrypting anyware .ya this will mean hiding data in plain sight just like our forfather did ! how ? bha they ll propbably encrypt data just for the lol of it but in fact the stuff theey want will be on what they send so unless you know the cypher good luck decrypting it .all because some are scared of being scared .but then we didn't invent this idea . and you want us to use window 8.1 witch was proven to be as guilty of behing unsecure as xp since the whole web is being syphoned outside your jurisdiction or any jurisdiction for that mather !and then Microsoft and all big corp go to say the gov only asked for this and that and that ! how would you know how much data the gov is sucking lol ! when window cant even detect bridge technology that bypass every security possible at hardware level ! you ll ask intel of the planet ? rofl they don't even know their plans where modified to include what the government want ! so I bet most of the planet is sorry that nothing is secure but they probabvly wont spend 1 $ to upgrade something when they know full well they are as unsecure as when they were using xp ! and when they do upgrade ! I bet nobody on the planet will be ablew to unsecurise their data be it ms ibm or intel

February 9, 2014 | 12:26 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What you're smoking. I wants it!

February 9, 2014 | 03:47 PM - Posted by razor512

Not sure of all you were trying to cover, but if you have concerns about the inherit security of the different versions of windows, then there is no security benefit of any of the new OS.

If you look at the many patch Tuesdays that microsoft has (second tuesday of each month)

you will see that pretty much 99% of the security updates will fix the same vulnerability in windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8. even worst, of the remaining 1% most of the updates that are unique to a specific OS, will often be on windows 7, or 8, or vista where they are patching a security hole in a new feature that was added to the OS.

Most of the additional "security" attempts from microsoft, has been to try and request more user permission, and get them to think about more of what they are installing, because it is too easy to install stuff on windows.
While in theory, it should make things more secure, in practice, it has done nothing to improve security because so many users are used to clicking next and accepting anything in order to accomplish their end result.

so a user sees an ad for a program that will give them free movies and games, they will accept anything without thinking. I have fixed computers for users who right in front of me, would head to a site and install some random music app that they like and reinfect their computer. (which is why it is hard to trust when a user says that they reinstalled the OS and the problem is still happening, it is because there are some users out there where part of their setup process, included reinstalling the malware that caused their problem to begin with).

It is very rare for any infection to propigate without any user interaction, it was more common around 13+ years ago when computers started to become a major target.

In the past, internet was still very slow and many users were not online very often, thus computers were not as huge of a target, but with the advent of broadband internet, suddenly it became more possible to drop a 5-10 megabyte payload onto someones computer using some exploit. That was not really practical when you had many users on dialup. with broadband we suddenly had a major focus on OS security, and pretty much all OS became battle hardened against exploits that require no user action. This is why most of what you will fine, rely on social engineering to get the user ti willingly infect their system. Once the user agrees, then they will click past any warning or popup they get.

Convince a user that they need a new plugin or update to play that web game or video, and they will blindly install anything you want.

February 9, 2014 | 11:54 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

want comments and clicks... post anything MS win8 related.

February 9, 2014 | 12:12 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If Microsoft was smart they'd offer everybody running Windows XP a free WIndows 8/8.1 upgrade. It would get most of them off XP and push there already crappy Windows 8/8.1 numbers higher. Win-Win.

February 9, 2014 | 01:17 PM - Posted by Nightowl (not verified)

I for one am sticking with Windows 7, I ran in to a situation where some of my games, which include Bejewelled 2 Deluxe the classic C&C games including Red Alert 2 from the C&C Ultimate Collection run slower than a turtle.

Microsoft must really think I'm stupid, to think I want that piece of junk called Windows 8 on my machine, when some of my games either run slower than a turtle or won't run at all and Windows 8 is supposed to be a gaming os, yeah right.

February 9, 2014 | 03:31 PM - Posted by razor512

Microsoft would have had more success with a paid service pack for windows XP, this would have allowed them to get more money to continue supporting the OS, without having users replace working systems.

One small business that I work with for occasional support and consulting, has around 60 computers running windows XP, the only systems on windows 7, are the 4 high end workstations that I built for them for their graphic design and video production team.

For them is was not hard to spend $10K+ on each workstation computer, but it will be hard to get them to replace 60 computers with ones that can properly handle windows 7, just so that workers can do the exact same thing, and the exact same speed as before (as there were no bottlenecks previously).

With businesses, the main issues come down to ROI, and they do not like to spend money on things that lack a clear return on investment. You can bring up the lack of security updates, and they can have an understanding of what it would mean, but they will not have any feeling of haste behind it, as from their point of view, it is largely theoretical and not a 100% guarantee that something bad will happen, so they take the mindset of "we will cross that bridge when we get there"

Windows XP support will end, and we will have hundreds or even thousands of businesses along with many home users still on windows XP. Keep in mind from a functional standpoint, the majority of computer users will gain nothing functionality wise from moving from windows XP, to windows 7 or 8.1, with it comes to what they do. A home user can be convinced more easily than a business where a migration to a new OS will often involve the purchasing of a large number of computers, lost productivity from the migration process which will impact the income of the company for some time.
Then there is the issue of software compatibility. some companies may use software that is no longer supported and will not work on windows 7 or 8, and may not be a proper candidate for virtualization (which can introduce security issues)

Many users and companies will weigh the pros and cons of the migration, and may decide to just take their chances.

The main users who I have been able to get to upgrade, were my consumer level customers, especially since I have been offering them free migration to windows 7 as long as they purchase the OS. (I will basically backup their data, reformat, install windows 7, then reinstall their applications, restore as many application settings as possible, then configure the UI and background to to match their old layout) (If you do PC repair, doing free work in situations like this, is a good way to increase work of mouth advertising as it makes it a nobrainer for customers to recommend you, especially if they had good service in the past, and that investment in your service in the past, gives then additional free service in the future during special situations)

February 9, 2014 | 06:36 PM - Posted by mLocke

Before even thinking about installing Linux, you should look up every piece of hardware in the machine in question and make sure that you're not trying to install Linux on some obscure hardware that only a handful of people own.

More than likely you're better off building a new affordable pico-itx rig and installing Linux on that.

February 9, 2014 | 09:53 PM - Posted by Anonomus (not verified)

Funnily enough the 3 people I know who still use Xp are using the copy they downloaded from kazaa all those years ago.

February 9, 2014 | 09:56 PM - Posted by Anonomus (not verified)

And I know one person who hates the windows 7 GUI, so he still uses. 13 year old OS but he always does stupid shit like that

February 11, 2014 | 11:02 PM - Posted by Goofus Maximus (not verified)

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I am going to run my Windows XP machine, even when it is rotten with malware and transforms into a node of SkyNet, just to spite Microsoft!

I shall laugh as their corporate offices are swarmed by T-1000 Terminators, all due to my unupdated antiquated pedazo de mierda machine!

February 12, 2014 | 10:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You dumb fool, your heavily infected Windows XP computer won't be able to get online to do any thing.

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