Windows XP Migration Solutions Come About a Little Too Late

Rob Enderle
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Windows 8.1 Update: Refining the Windows Experience

Sometimes things about this industry have me scratching my head. For instance, in storage we focus on the term “back-up” like it was the end all, when it should be “recovery” that we are focused on. In the PC market, similar issues have frustrated me for years.

Perhaps the biggest long-term irritant has been how little an industry that lives largely on the PC replacement cycle has focused on assuring that cycle stays in play. We currently have a massive number of people on Windows XP machines who don’t want to face the pain of migrating to the latest Windows OS. These XP users might migrate to the Chrome OS, Android, MacOS or iOS and a different hardware and processor vendor because the migration to Windows 8 is so scary for them.

This came to mind when I was bring briefed by a little company named Tranxition, which focuses on personal backups and migrations and has tools to migrate from Windows platforms starting with Windows 2000 to newer versions of Windows and the MacOS. Yes and MacOS.

The migration problem should have been fixed in the 1990s. While there certainly have been improvements for current generation platform owners (e.g., migrating from Windows 8.1 to a new machine is almost magical), the industry took forever to understand that ease of migration is critical. That same industry still doesn’t seem to get that migration is the most problematic for those coming from two or more generations of OSes back.

Why Migrations Suck

I was actually talking to one of the folks who recently departed Aha Radio because of how Harman screwed up the service, and I had one of those increasingly rare “ah-ha!” moments. Aha Radio was an interesting cloud service that provided your car radio access to Web applications. The car companies loved it and deployed it widely, but Harman never used it in their own products. Once it shipped, Harman pretty much shut the effort down and moved support to Asia. This is because it thought of the service as a product not an annuity, and felt that once it was in the hands of users, the effort to create and advance the product could be collapsed.

As a company, Harman didn’t consider the offering to be a service that needed sustaining efforts and internal support to reach its potential. It was treated instead as a one-off product that, once shipped, became someone else’s responsibility.


That is the same way Windows has historically been handled. The migration was someone else’s responsibility. It has gotten better recently, though, and migrating from Windows 8 going forward will be very easy. But migrating from Windows 2000 or Windows XP isn’t that much different than migrating from Apple in that you pretty much have to move all of your stuff manually, then reload and configure all of your apps and settings, which is largely why a massive number of folks haven’t done it.

Beloved XP; Horrid Windows 8

I was listening to XM Sirius Pulse over the weekend and wasn’t surprised to hear the DJ mention that she was working on “horrid” Windows 8 and was really missing “wonderful” Windows XP. I’ve been on Windows 8 for nearly two years now, and I feel the opposite. Now, I wouldn’t touch Windows XP with someone else’s 10 foot pole. This speaks to how different both products work. While Windows 8—particularly 8.1—is far easier, faster and more secure, most folks get hung up on the differences. They don’t want to relearn how to do the simplest tasks on their PCs.

What I also find funny, but suspect the Microsoft folks don’t, is how much love there is for Windows XP given that folks seemed to hate it when it was launched because they didn’t like the changes it made over Windows 2000—and especially Windows 9x—back then. If I recall correctly, it took something like three to five years before the folks that liked Windows XP were more prevalent and outspoken than the folks who hated it. Ironically, I think it took Windows Vista to convince the folks who liked Windows XP to speak up, and many are still speaking up.

Wrapping Up: The Cloud

I think that eventually everyone will get on the same page and figure out that the future of all of this stuff will be more of a service that is tied to the cloud. You’ll simply log in and have your unique experience on every connected device you own. But until firms fully catch on that this is an annuity model and not a product model, we’ll be feeling a bit of pain.

Until then, if you are looking to migrate from Windows XP, check out products like Laplink and Tranxition, which both have solutions you can use. And if you find a migration option that you like or don’t like, shoot me a comment. I’m a little short on customer-sourced feedback on this class of product, and I’ll share what I hear.



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