Microsoft under fire over "buy new PC" Windows XP upgrade advice

Microsoft's latest attempt to gee people up into ditching Windows XP has seen the software giant accused of being out of touch with its customers.

The vendor published a blog late last week to mark the fact in 60 days time it will pull the plug on extended support for Windows XP, and urged readers to get their friends and family off the aged OS.

Written by Brandon LeBlanc, senior marketing communications manager of Microsoft's marketing group, the post points readers in the direction of a specially created support page for people still on Windows XP.

"Today marks 60 days until the end of support for Windows XP and we need your help spreading the word to ensure people are safe and secure on modern-up-to-date PCs," it states.

"As a reader of this blog, it's unlikely you are running Windows XP on your PC. However, you may know someone who is and have even served as their tech support."

The post advises readers on how to help their loved ones, if their hardware is compatible, upgrade to Windows 8.1.

"They will not be able to keep any files, settings, or applications when upgrading Windows XP, so they will need to backup their files and locate any installation disks prior to the upgrade," it reads.

The post also advises readers to "get a new PC", billing that as the "easiest path" to upgrading to Windows 8.1.

"We hope this end of support page for Windows XP on and all the resources there is helpful to you and can be something you can use to help your friends and family get off Windows XP," LeBlanc added.

However, the post's content has not gone down well with ardent Windows XP users, with many taking issue with Microsoft's suggestion that buying a new PC is an easy upgrade option.

In the comments section underneath the post, Michal Lysek said he's well aware of the benefits of upgrading, but the costs involved make it difficult.

"If it was a matter of just buying a new OS, that would be fine. But we are talking about buying a new computer as well that can run Windows 8.1, despite the fact Windows 8.1 isn't an attractive choice to begin with," said Lysek.

"Most of the people I know feel like they are forced to buy a new computer [with] money they don't have, and forced to upgrade to a new version of Windows they aren't convinced is a good choice."

Keatah also took issue with the post's assumption that readers wouldn't be using XP themselves.

"Not all of us can afford to buy the latest hardware and the increasing subscription style of services required for them," Keatah wrote.

"It is important to note that many of my friends use software that doesn't run on the latest 8.1 capable machines, [and] this is a huge factor in deciding whether to upgrade or not."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.