NORMALLY, AN UNEXPECTED pop-up is a reason to worry: Is your PC infected with a virus? Is this pop-up an ad? With one particular pop-up from Microsoft, you’re supposed to worry—but the message is legit.
In its ongoing bid to encourage Windows XP users to move to Windows 7 or Windows 8, Microsoft began pushing a pop-up window to users’ machines in March. The company is also partnering with LapLink to offer a free migration tool to assist with the transition. By now, PCWorld readers and other people who keep up with tech news should know that the expiration date for Windows XP is April 8, 2014. Support for XP is ending, meaning that any vulnerabilities Microsoft hasn’t patched by now will remain open for malware writers to exploit. A few contingency plans (see “Keep Windows XP secure after Microsoft ends support,” page 37) can mitigate that threat somewhat; Google will support Chrome for Windows XP through 2015, for example. And although Microsoft has ditched support for Internet Explorer 8 (the last browser for XP), Microsoft Security Essentials will support Windows XP until July 14, 2015. Still, that’s like wrapping duct tape around the Titanic.
So the challenge for Microsoft is to find a way to move users off XP.
The company’s answer? The tried-and-true pop-up notification.
According to Brandon Leblanc, the chief blogger for Microsoft, the pop-up displays only for users who have elected to receive updates via Windows Update. It includes a link to the Windows XP End of Support website (go.pcworld.com/xpend), where XP users can learn how to stay protected against security risks and viruses after April 8. The notification is set to recur on the 8th of every month unless the user disables it, Leblanc says.
Son, am I supposed to click this?
us not to click. Every tech-savvy son or daughter has told their parents to avoid such pop-ups, too. The alternative now, of course, is for those kids to step in and to encourage their parents to buy a new PC.
Or a Mac. Or a Chromebook.
For those people who want to provide such family tech support, Microsoft is offering a free copy of PCmover Express for Windows XP, which will copy files, music, videos, email, and user profiles and settings from the old PC to the new system, including across a network. The utility also allows Windows XP users to customize exactly what to bring over to their new machine. The free software is available from WindowsXP.com. If users want to transfer applications from Windows XP, they can do so, but they’ll need PCmover Professional (go.pcworld.com/ pcmover).