SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft's Windows XP nag screens are not working as it had hoped, with users mistaking the pop-ups for adware.
Earlier this month, Microsoft started displaying pop-up warnings to Windows XP users, letting them know that the operating system (OS) is nearing End of Life and advising them that they need to upgrade to a newer version of Windows.
CRN reports that rather than spurring Windows XP users to upgrade, the pop-ups have had users ringing alarm bells, with some mistaking the nag screens for adware and others worried that they have been hacked.
For example, Terry Fairbrother, founder of Devon-based IT maintenance firm Remedy IT Ltd, told CRN that he had received calls and emails from "dozens" of worried Windows XP users.
"A lot of customers are asking me what it is and I'm having to remote into their computers to verify that it is legitimate," he said. "Last week was pretty bad as I had dozens of calls. The jobs are too small to be chargeable and they're also unnecessary.
"Microsoft has never done this before. They've never needed to put a splash screen on Windows and it almost smacks of panic."
Graham Tilley, owner of independent IT retailer Coventry Laptop Clinic also told the website that he had been contacted by a couple of concerned Windows XP users.
Tilley didn't have much nice to say about Microsoft, and said that the nag screens are intended to get users to spend money upgrading their software, rather than warning of Windows XP problems.
"This is more about Microsoft trying to push people to buy a new OS, rather than any problems with XP. XP is so old it's pretty much fixed and if you have a good firewall and servers, your machines should be protected behind them," he said.
Microsoft responded to the report, but didn't have much to say. A spokesperson said in a statement, "Since September 2007, we have been working with customers and partners to notify them that support for Windows XP would end on 8 April, 2014, and to help them migrate to a modern operating system.
"As part of those ongoing communications from 8 March, customers using Windows XP (Home and Professional editions) have been receiving a notification via Windows Update informing them of the support deadline and encouraging them to visit Windows.com to find out more about what end of support means for them.
"Our goal is to help all Windows XP customers make informed decisions about their option to stay protected after 8 April." µ