Should XP users be forced (kill switch-style) to upgrade?

Would a master kill switch behind the scenes at Microsoft HQ, killing every copy of Windows XP but with given time to allow users to upgrade finally kill off the ageing operating system? Have your say.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

I have always wondered what made Windows XP so popular; even today, towards the end of 2010 nearly a decade after it was first released.

  1. It was the most used version of Windows, partly due to the massive increase in post-millennium home computer users, where practically everybody in the developed world had a PC of some kind.
  2. The user interface had radically changed from the boring 'NT'-style layout to something colourful and visually powerful.
  3. Linking in from point 1, the massive five-year gap between XP and its successor, Vista, coupled with the performance, hardware integration and compatibility issues, that users just didn't want to upgrade.

But after this week's reports that businesses are telling Microsoft that XP is history to them, users are still out there - albeit not buying it anymore, but nevertheless with no intention of upgrading.

My fantastic Friday idea? Kill switch it. Not like in the iPhone or Windows Phone 7 way, but more rather strap an electronic bomb to it and count it down from sixty days.

It's a painful tactic to use, and I doubt it's really been used before on the vast scale of an operating system. Applications do, of course, on occasion display a dialog stating that "you must upgrade to continue".

But if Microsoft really wanted to get rid of XP and of also previous versions of Windows, then the option to kill it from a great distance using a master switch behind the scenes at Redmond may not be popular but widely effective. A compulsory automatic update should do it, right?

Windows 7 is massively popular; we cannot deny that as a fact. With over 150 million licences sold (roughly 7 every second - we as the consumer are doing the marketing for them), it is the fastest selling operating system to date. Yet Windows XP lingers on so many computers still, as the most used operating system in the world of all time.

Granted there are those in third-world and developing countries that need to remain with XP or previous versions of Windows, simply because they cannot afford either the upgrade licence or the replacement hardware. If the hardware has a lower standard, then it could be exempt and be left alone.


It is a massively harsh tactic to use, and public-relations wise it would probably be a disaster. But Microsoft is essentially losing money with people staying on older versions of the operating system and not upgrading to the latest and greatest. At least with a forceful push in the right direction, they could reclaim some of their inevitable negative perceptions by customers realising how lovely an experience Windows 7 is.

Roll out the update, set the timer ticking; maybe even offer users of this long a 50% discount on an upgrade copy of Windows 7? It's just a thought after all, seeing as it has been nearly a decade. Not selling XP anymore will be a good, long term solution but it will still linger on for years regardless.

Good tactic or bad tactic? How would you get people upgrading? Even though XP is nearly 10 years old and not for sale anymore, should users still be allowed to stay with the aged operating system? Say your piece.

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