Less than a week into Satya Nadella taking the reins as Microsoft CEO, there has been backlash with the anticipated rollout of the Windows 8.1 operating system as it penalizes current XP users.
Microsoft reached out to its tech-savvy user base and asked them to help users that were still running XP, either in upgrading their computers or encouraging them to buy new ones.
The problem with only upgrading the computer is that the settings, applications and files will not transfer over. XP users will have to back up all files. Microsoft said the easiest way to adapt to the change is to just buy a new PC. Either way, XP users will have to learn a completely new interface.
There is the middle ground of upgrading to Windows 7, which is a software Microsoft still supports. This may be used on some computers that are not capable of running Windows 8.1.
So what happens if a user does not upgrade from the outdated Windows XP or buy a new computer?
Microsoft will not run tech support for the XP operating system after April 8, 2014. Also on this date, Microsoft will stop releasing updates that protect against viruses for XP.
This means that any system running the XP operating system could be vulnerable to hacking after April 8. Microsoft tried to end Windows XP support back in 2013, but extended the deadline after pushback from the user base.
Microsoft said the deadline would remain firm this time. This is Nadella’s first big transition after taking the reins as Microsoft’s new CEO and the Windows 8.1 rollout is a huge change as XP users are penalized.
Symantec, a security researcher, said that Windows XP is installed on more than 95 percent of ATMs and is on a network that links the machines together. Also, it is installed on four million checkout systems worldwide. The end of virus protection updates for XP will leave users susceptible to hacks. There has already been a recent surplus of big security breaches in major retailers like Target, Neiman Marcus and Michaels.
The XP operating system is now 12 years old. According to Director of Windows and Surface Business Group at Microsoft Canada Henrik Guetle, the operating system was developed for a different era where the threats and usage are not what they are today. Guetle urges companies not to take this lightly.
Symantec regional manager Stefano Tiranardi said that there has not yet “been a catalyst” to make companies change their operating systems, but that they are “gambling with the security” in regards to their “user data.”
Leaks of new Windows 8.1 information shows that Microsoft is trying to make the installation of the operating system as easy as possible. It will now identify the hardware capabilities and upload the correct interface, whether it is touch screen or PC. It has also made some adjustments to make the software as user-friendly as possible. Microsoft hopes users will make the change to Windows 8.1.
Within the first week of taking the reins, new Microsoft CEO Nadella already has his plate full with the pending Windows 8.1 transition that penalizes current XP users.
By Rebecca Hofland