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XP Upgrade Nightmares – Why Microsoft? Why?

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XP Users take special note

I should preface this with a note that I highly recommend Windows 7 (my favorite) and in early 2015 when Windows 10 ships I do really have confidence in it’s quality after using it and testing it. I hope Windows 10 is free though and takes a page from Androids, iPads, Mac and Linux and realizes people should NOT have to pay for OS upgrades. MS has plenty of non-Windows profit and a lot of our money to afford an upgrade to fix Windows. As you can see by my Windows Free Must Haves List everybody but them (even tiny companies) figured out what Windows is missing yet somehow they remain clueless or apathetic to using the above list to bolster their core product. They could pre-install the above if they cared instead of the usual crapware that hardware makers add no one wants.

Do I force people to update their XP to Windows 7 or 8 because of safety? No, if they have hardware that will break under Win 7 or 10.

  • I do force them to use Chrome instead of Internet Explorer on XP because of it’s much better malware/download protection that Internet Explorer and FireFox lacks. I encourage them to use XPLite to remove IE.
  • I do set them up to be a non-Admin user which eliminates 90% of their risk. They should run their usual account as non-Admin. A few times a month for software upgrades only they sholud run as admin and then get out of admin account quickly and back to normal non-admin account. Read about how @
    http://www.mechbgon.com/build/Limited.html
  • I encourage them to buy a Mac and use BootCamp or Parallels to import their XP environment and software. The hardware is faster and more reliable and the Windows drivers more reliable than anything I ever got from Dell or HP when running Windows on a Mac.

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Horrible XP and Win 7/8/10 Upgrade Decisions/Issues Microsoft made that is very anti-consumer

Microsoft unfortunately…

  • Has changed the UI in small and big ways that make XP users uncomfortable. And IT types belittle the people who love and know XP, and this is not how to win friends and influence users. They could provide easier transition by lots of UI Tweaks in 7, 8 and 10 to make XP Users comfortable – and when they do not, it ensures a consumer perception that they don’t respect their own users and biggest fans. Which creates mistrust for your average person that new versions will take their work habits seriously.
  • Is way out of touch with average user. Windows 8 and 10 for example have a real show stopper for most users. A Start Menu missing entirely in Windows 8. And programs people know and love are missing or hard to find. Want to play Solitaire on Windows? On XP just click on an item in the Start Menu. In 8 it is not there, and go to a new Windows “store” and sift through a few dozen solitaire programs and try to guess which one is best, and hope none of them are lousy, or spy on you, etc. Such basic small mistakes abound do not give you confidence they got the big stuff right either.
    • If you do run Windows 8 and want a Start Menu everyone BUT Microsoft has a clue… Choose one from http://www.extremetech.com/computing/141702-how-to-bring-the-start-menu-and-button-back-to-windows-8 but shake your head at why these small companies can fix it but Microsofn with its billions has not for a few years.
    • Keep in Mind the Window 7 or Windows 10 Start Menu is not anything like the XP Start Menu and shake your head again. It is only superficially similar 100+ things on the Windows 7 and Windows XP start menu are not there or not accessed the same way. And SIGH download a 3rd party Start Menu that actually works like 7 or XP. Ouch.
  • Did not provide all device drivers that work under XP a Win 7 or Win 8 or Win 10 upgrade. No drivers means BUYING NEW HARDWARE. Ouch on pocket book. And what if you like your hardware?
  • And upgrading several perfectly working pieces of software at $50-$100 or much more EACH to run under 7 seems like a high price to pay.
  • They also have a XP Mode that is only part of the Ultimate license (with  suitably ultimate price tag, which is basically a cheap knock off of awesome Parallels software) but my experiences with XP mode is it poorly supported and when you have troubles ouch. XP Mode under Win 7 (at a high price in $$$) does allow you to run software that only runs in XP, and I have used it to get XP hardware drivers working under Win 7.
  • I have relatives who have some great hardware that has no post-XP drivers they really love. And companies with very expensive machines that would love to upgrade but someone fell asleep at the switch and did not work with, use their power with partners to get the XP hardware drivers updated.
  • MS does not provide an upgrade disk for XP to Windows 7.   Windows 7 upgrade to Windows 8.x loses all programs – they must be re-installed.  I like Windows 7 and 10 and run them personally.

But if I need to upgrade a friend or family Win XP user to Win 7 I have to go through way too many steps (which I did for family and friends but it was longer than it should be):

  • Dig up a Vista CD and upgrade to Vista. Be patient this upgrade and install can take nearly 12+ hours on older slower machines but does keep all programs and Data. Then upgrade Vista to Windows 7. MS should integrate that XP Vista upgrade program into Win 7/8/10 installs. 
  • Import their XP into a Virtual Machine and install a fresh Windows 7 or 10 and let them access old programs via a VM. I never ever ever use XP Mode because of the poor support and abandonment of this. Or:
    • Import their XP into a Virtual Machine and buy them a super safe fast Mac and let them run their Windows XP in a VM on the Mac.

$$$ and Upgradability does Matter Microsoft!

MS however provides no upgrade path. Its all “reformat and lose programs”, or use a lame transfer utility and get data only no programs. Even though they had an upgrade program in Vista they abandoned and could have included in Win 7, 8 and 10 🙁

And the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of a Win 7, Win 8.x (yuck, such a bad version for normal users, they are providing FREE upgrades to Win 10 and they never offer FREE) can be quite high. Pay a LOT for a Win 7 or Win 8 license. pay to upgrade many pieces of software you use all the time that work fine, pay to upgrade your security software, if you are not a power user pay for someone to backup in case the upgrade has problem, and do the upgrade and re-install programs and hope they got it all. Or make your friends and family do it and hope they forgive you after when there are issues.