Microsoft Offers $100 Discount to Get You to Dump That Old XP Machine

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-03-24

Microsoft Offers $100 Discount to Get You to Dump That Old XP Machine

Your days with Windows XP are numbered. They are so numbered that we warned you in these pages nearly four years ago that the time had come to move away from Microsoft's then aging OS to Windows 7. But here it is, two weeks away from the XP support cutoff date, including security updates.

So if you don't upgrade your computers and believe Microsoft's many warnings, you'll be like Little Red Riding Hood in a forest full of wolves, while coated in duck fat and suitable for frying. You're toast. Worse, you're also lawsuit bait because no court in the land will understand why you didn't move to a secure environment with all of this warning.

Fortunately, Microsoft has come to lead you out of the woods and protect you from the wolves. This may be your last chance to take the road to safety. And just in case the reason you haven't made the move is because of cost, Microsoft is sweetening the pot so that even your CFO will go along with the change.

What Microsoft is doing through the Microsoft Store, is offering $100 off the price of a new PC running a new version of Windows if you'll just switch. All you have to do is show that you're still running XP and then buy a new PC costing $599 or more. Microsoft will also include 90 days of premium support for your new computer and free data transfer from your XP machine to the new one.

Proving to Microsoft that you're still running XP is fairly easy. You either need to log in to the Microsoft Store on-line using your XP computer and then navigate to the page to buy the new one. The choices include all-in-one machines, Surface Pro 2 tablets, ultrabooks and business laptops. You can also visit a physical Microsoft store with your old XP machine, buy the new one, then let Microsoft do the data transfer. Microsoft will even recycle the old machine for you so you won't be tempted to keep using that annoyingly reliable old machine, or worse, install Linux on it.

It's important to stress that this offer isn't just for consumers. A Microsoft spokesperson told eWEEK that businesses aren't excluded from this offer. You can choose from a variety of business computers that are part of this offer as well as devices intended for consumers.

The fact that you have to order the new PC from the XP computer you're replacing or bring it to a Microsoft Store means that companies with large numbers of XP machine will have to find some other way to upgrade. But for small businesses or those that include laptops and tablets in their BYOD plans can take advantage of this offer easily enough.

Microsoft Offers $100 Discount to Get You to Dump that Old XP Machine

What's equally important is that Microsoft is offering to transfer your data and settings to the new computer. This is important, because a direct upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8 isn't possible, as I found out earlier this year. But fortunately Microsoft has worked a deal with LapLink for a free version of PCmover Express designed specifically to migrate from XP to Windows 7 or later.

But there is a catch. "PCmover Express for Windows XP only migrates user settings and files," Laplink spokesperson Ashley Catlett told eWEEK, "however Laplink offers a full version of PCmover to users who want to move applications as well." That full version of Laplink PCmover is what I used for my eventually successful migration of an old HP workstation to Windows 7.

So here it is, nearly 13 years after Windows XP was first released to the world in 2001. All those years later and Microsoft is still developing security updates to what is clearly an obsolete desktop operating system. It's no wonder that Microsoft wants to divest itself of that legacy burden and move on. By now, Windows XP may be unique in the annals of computer technology in its refusal to die.

Of course, a couple of factors helped ensure that Windows XP would stick around as long as it did. First was the botched launch of Windows Vista which hardly anyone used voluntarily (except me, of course). Microsoft eventually withdrew Vista after it failed to convince many people to make the switch. But while this was happening, XP was broadly adopted by business, many applications were developed and some systems (bank ATMs for example) became so wedded to XP that a change became essentially impossible.

Then, about the time that Windows 7 came out, the U.S. economy suffered a serious recession, and companies that hadn't already moved to Windows 7 stayed put until business improved. Meanwhile, they became further dependent on Windows XP.

But eventually, change had to come, and with Windows 7 in high regard, businesses started to make the switch, but by the time they were doing it, Windows XP was more than a decade old.

So it's come down to this. You've existed on free updates for 13 years, and now Microsoft has reached the point at which free updates aren't enough. A move to a new OS is necessary to maintain security, and Windows 7 is the closest thing to what you're used to with XP. The time has come to move. To make sure you do, Microsoft is offering you money, easy recycling, and data transfer.

But along with this carrot there's also a stick. The free updates are over. If you stick with XP, you're on your own, and yes, the wolves really are coming for you.

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