Monthly Archives: July 2014

XP Upgrade Nightmares – Why Microsoft? Why?


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 @
  • 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.

windows-xp-nag-screen-end-of-support windows-xp-support-deadline-540x334

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 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.

Charles Carroll’s 6 Player Chess Variant

6 Player or 8 Player/Octopus Chess

Designed by Charles Carroll  – May 2014

Chess-Stockings SONY DSC


You will need to order 2 (or more) of these to play:

Additional Supplies and Preparation:

  • You will need to paint the silver and gold pieces some other color
  • or order another set of 2 or more Chess pieces in a non-silver or gold color. I choose red and blue.

Ideally you need twice as many pieces in each color for when a player conquers or subjugates an opponent (see rule #4).


The Board Setup: 6 player Chess


Alternate Setup: 8 Player/Octopus Chess!

Here is an alternate setup that could support 8 player Chess just place the boards side by side:



The following rules are relevant for 8 player variant only:

  • The pieces that are backed up 4 deep next to each other in center of board cannot move backwards or capture backwards until there is an empty space there.
  • They cannot capture on that row till the major piece (non-pawn) has left that row once.


Rule #1 Pawns = Princes (4 player Chess too)

Pawns are now “Princes”

  • they can move 1 in any direction (but not backwards), or 2 forward or left or right spaces at any time.
  • They can capture diagonally forward or backwards.
  • They can make a cascading capture where they make multiple diagonal captures like Checkers.

This is designed:

  • To encourage promotion which seems to rarely happen in 4 or 6 player games
  • Allowing pawns to be able to deal with the sheer distances involved in the board
  • Have some “teeth” if a good player uses them right as they do in regular Chess.

1.a.  Pawns are subject to En Passant for the entire game.
1.b.  Promoted pawns can draw pieces from the original player’s color, or any pieces of an army they have taken over (see rule #3)


Rule #2 Knights = Assassins (4 player chess too)

Knights are now “Assassins” – they can move one Knights move forward, or two Knight moves forwards on a turn.

They can capture on first move only, not on the second move. They can capture on first move, then move away if desired. On a board this long this keep knights from being second class citizens compared to Bishops, Queens and Rooks.

2.a. Assassins are subject to En Passant for the entire game. The first square they land on as part of a 2 part move that is not a capture is vulnerable.


Rule #3 Checkmate and King Capture

As in 4 player Chess if a King is checkmated, upon the move where a player actually captures the king all the pieces in that kings army change control to that player – they become a conquered or subjugated Army. The player still only has 1 move, it is just an increase in size of army.

3.a. Ideally at that point you trade all the captured/controlled player’s pieces for the color of the player who captured the king.

I own a few extra sets for this reason. When for example a gold player checkmates and captures a White player’s pieces I trade all the white pieces for gold pieces to signify their new owner. Rule #1 becomes essential then because in the most common 4 Player Chess rules pawns can only move forward, and capture diagonally. If not playing 6 player Chess with Rule Variation #1, the pawns will remain the same color as the original player so their direction restrictions can be maintained.


Rule #4 Truces and Betrayal (4 player chess too)

Any player can ask for a 1-3 turn truce with any other player. During the truce neither can attack each other. This means for duration of truce the player need not fear attacks from player they have truce with. But once truce expires, all bets are off. There must be a minimum of 3 turns between truce.

There is a tendency for players to informally ally, this formalizes it for very short term situations without creating any need to make any alliance rules. 4 player Chess rules, the main ones discourage allying but have no way of enforcing it, since Chess is not a game of mandatory captures.

4.a. BETRAYAL The King can be killed during a truce. Check still has to be announced. This increases tension, and give other player in truce chance to protect other player’s king and reduce odds of successful betrayal. This betrayal can be done regardless of verbal promises.

APPENDIX: Compatible Variants


Card Games

Card Chess is fun.

So we have incorporated this into our 4 or 6 player Variants.


More Variants

  • Atomic Chess. Atomic Chess is very compatible with this variant.
  • Extinction Chess. Very compatible with this variant.


Enjoy! Charles Carroll