GEEKNOTE: Now that Windows XP has been sunset by Microsoft, folks are getting a popup on their Windows XP systems suggesting that they upgrade to Windows 8. This is a VERY bad idea on multiple levels.
First off, a machine old enough to be running Windows XP is likely too old to run Windows 8 in anything approaching an acceptable fashion. Add to that the difficulty in finding Windows 8 drivers for older hardware and doing the upgrade promises to be an exercise in futility.
Secondly, Windows 8 / 8.1 is massively different in “look and feel” from an XP system and you’d have to completely relearn how to use your computer.
Finally, the cost of buying Windows 8.1 and having a shop save your data, install Windows 8.1, and copy all of your data back onto the computer is easily going to approach the cost of a brand new machine.
You can find a cheap Windows 8.1 system for under $400. We’ve got brand new Windows 7 Pro machines for under $500. Given the learning curve with Windows 8.1, we generally recommend Windows 7.
Save yourself the hassle. Put your old XP system out to pasture and buy a new system. You’ll want to do this sooner rather than later if your system connects to the Internet as Microsoft is issuing patches this week for new operating systems, but not XP.