Like others we spoke to, Barbosa also isn't concerned about security. "[My parents'] favorites tab holds the 14 sites that they visit most. They have antivirus and anti-malware software, and I always advise them to be careful online. I know about the security Vista, Win 7, and Win 8.1 afford, but they are happily accustomed to Win XP and I feel as long as they don't stray from the secure path I laid there is not much to worry about."
Microsoft's Murphy disagrees with that argument, however. "Even if you're only doing email or using social networks, that's personal data on your machine that's potentially exposed," Murphy told us. "If you're surfing the web and doing email, you're also probably buying things online. Given the risk and threats there are online today, I don't think it's very wise to continue using your Windows XP machine."
The elephants in the room: Money and Windows 8
For some, sticking with XP simply comes down to the cost. Sam Allen, a student based in Lincoln, UK, says he doesn't want to move to Windows 8.1, and the cost of a Windows 7 PC is just too high. "They do not do student packages for Windows 7 anymore," Allen told PCWorld via email. "I am also reluctant to use Windows 8 as I have heard many negative reviews of it thus far."
When asked about his opinion of Windows 8, Allen points to the Start screen and how it affects the traditional desktop. "It feels like they have tried to fix something that did not need to be fixed," Allen said.
"I don't have Windows 8 on any computer and hope that I never will," Merritt said. "Much of my efficiency in work and play requires that I be able to switch between apps promptly and cut-paste-copy as needed. I'm used to my Taskbar and the order of things on it."
Murphy acknowledges that there is a learning curve when moving from an OS like XP to Windows 8.1; however, he said, it's not as dramatic as, say, switching from a 2001-era cell phone to a modern smartphone. "If you don't have a touch device, then spending a couple of minutes where you learn how to boot to desktop and how to use the Windows key [in Windows 8.1], you end up way more productive [than in XP]."
Microsoft is also taking steps to make Windows 8.1 more appealing to users reluctant to try out the dual-interface OS.
The same day that Windows XP reaches its end of support on April 8, Microsoft will roll out a major update to Windows 8.1 that will make it easier for traditional desktop users to interact with touch-friendly modern UI apps. The company also recently announced that the Start menu will return to Windows sometime in the coming months.
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