how to rename System Center VMM server

I took the liberty of renaming my System Center VMM server today.. Didn’t think too much about it first.. I just got tired of typing WinVMM2012R2.. so I shortened it to VMM.

Well.. after a couple of reboots.. and renaming the Server in SQL Server.. I still wasn’t able to get in.

So then I started looking for .CONFIG files that might have a servername or something that needed to be changed. Well.. that didn’t work either.. .

So now I’m stuck looking through a database for a simple string replacement. Simple string replacement, anywhere in a database.. Oh yeah, I’m a database guy.. this’ll be easy!

I’ve used this method for years and years and years in order to find the data that I’m *REALLY* looking for inside of SQL Server tables. I get tired of writing the same scripts week in and week out.. so I try to share them on my blog..

Hope it helps someone, somewhere.. on this great big internet.
Obviously, you’ll need to replace the string WINVMM2012R2 with the string that you’re REALLY looking for 🙂

how to search through all varchar/nvarchar or text fields for a string

So I’ve been playing around with HyperV extensively.

I took the liberty of renaming my System Center VMM server today.. Didn’t think too much about it first.. I just got tired of typing WinVMM2012R2.. so I shortened it to VMM.

Well.. after a couple of reboots.. and renaming the Server in SQL Server.. I still wasn’t able to get in.

So then I started looking for .CONFIG files that might have a servername or something that needed to be changed.  Well.. that didn’t work either.. .

So now I’m stuck looking through a database for a simple string replacement.

I’ve used this method for years and years and years in order to find the data that I’m *REALLY* looking for inside of SQL Server tables.  I get tired of writing the same scripts week in and week out.. so I try to share them on my blog..

Hope it helps someone, somewhere.. on this great big internet.
Obviously, you’ll need to replace the string WINVMM2012R2 with the string that you’re REALLY looking for 🙂

ps – you MIGHT need to change your settings under tools, options, query results, sql server, results to text.
The default there is only 255 characters, I usually expand that out to ~2000 characters.



'select '
+ char(39)
+ char(39)
+ ' as tblName, '
+ char(39)
+ char(39)
+ ' as colName, ['
+ '] as TheCol, * FROM ['
+ '] where ['
+ '] like '
+ CHAR(39)
+ '%winvmm2012r2%'
+ CHAR(39)
+ CHAR(10)
+ 'go'
from sysobjects so
inner join syscolumns sc
on =
where so.xtype = 'u'
and TYPE_NAME(sc.xtype) in ('varchar', 'nvarchar', 'text', 'ntext')

Go Desktops? Replace your DVD drive with space for 6 small hard drives.

This is amazing as well.  I would love to put an extra 6 Solid State Drives (SSD) in about 10 different machines right now.

Thermaltake RC1600101A MAX-1562 5.25" (x1) Bay to 2.5" (x6) Bay Mobile Rack HDD Canister

Thermaltake RC1600101A MAX-1562 5.25″ (x1) Bay to 2.5″ (x6) Bay Mobile Rack HDD Canister

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In stock.

  • HDD Interface: Six 2.5″ SAS / SATA / SSD
  • HDD Thickness Height: up to 9.5 mm
  • HDD Capacity: up to 750 GB (HDD x1), 4.5 TB (HDD x6)
  • RAID Levels: 0, 1, 5, 6, 10
  • Transfer Rate: up to 6 Gbps (Max) for S

Got Desktops? Replace your DVD drive with space for 2 more harddrives. Preferably SSD.

I ran across this today.. looks amazing.. you can easily add 2 small hard drive bays – hot swap – to the bottom of a DVD drive.

It’s amazing to me that it’s only $69.

I swear, back before I had 20 computers at home, I spent all my time planning out what I was gonna do when I had 20 computers.. LOL.. It’s fun, having nice hardware around to horse around..

Icy Dock ToughArmor MB994IPO-3SB Dual 2.5″ SSD SATA + Slim ODD Drive 5.25″ Bay Rack
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Icy Dock ToughArmor MB994IPO-3SB Dual 2.5″ SSD SATA + Slim ODD Drive 5.25″ Bay Rack

ConvertWord documents to Clean HTML Clean HTML Original HTML view

Introducing the MB994IPO-3SB, a full metal dual bay 2.5” SATA/SAS hard drive / SSD mobile rack backplane designed with a Slim Optical Disk Drive (ODD) slot for use in a single 5.25” device bay. It is a device designed with a full metal build commercially designed for: Medical & Military systems, Media servers, IPCs, HTPC, and All-In-One computers, approved & used by Tier 1 companies. Dual 4-pin power connectors are used to ensure secured and consistent power supply to both drives and ODD, whether they are low power consumption 2.5” SATA SSD’s or power hungry 15000 RPM 2.5” SAS drives. Also included is a single 40mm cooling fan with on & off switch to assist the drives running at their optimal temperatures, in even the most intense applications.
Versatility is the Key
The MB994IPO-3SB separates itself from the rest of the MB994 series by the unique Slim Optical Disk Drive slot that is available. The Slim ODD slot uses our EZ-ODD Tray made of full metal, and is easily removable by use of the provided key or via a side latch. This allows system integrators more freedom to better meet their potential client’s needs.

The MB994IPO-3SB utilizes our EZ Slide Mini Trays, making drive interchangeability and maintenance completely hassle free. The trays are built using full metal so that they are durable for many lifetimes, while will not weigh you down when transporting your data from system to system. Also featuring a full cage design, the added top drive cover provides added layer of protection while moving the drive. The trays are designed to accommodate 7mm, 9.5mm, 12.5mm & 15mm drives, giving you excellent control of your 2.5″ hot swap backplane.

Interchangeable hard drive tray with:
Fan control further allows the potential system to be accommodated properly depending on the hard drives used. If a SSD is used, fan can be left off and shut off the noise completely from the MB994IPO-3SB. Otherwise, the fan is a great asset to assist in cooling mission critical hard drives.
Excellent Build Quality
The MB994IPO-3SB body is built with aluminum to be able to hold up in the toughest of conditions, provide excellent heat dissipation, and shave as much weight as possible. Included ventilation slots on the front and back for maximum airflow to keep your drives running cool, and an LED is placed on the front of each drive tray to give the user drive status at all times.
In the Smallest Package Possible
Utilizing its small form factor, the MB994IPO-3SB is perfect for use in gaming PCs, HTPC, small form factor cases with limited 5.25” expansion bays, or a Slim ODD and hard drives are needed. SMB’s, SI and power users all benefit from the most features, in the smallest form factor possible.
Key Features
* Heavy duty full metal construction with commercially designed for Medical & Military systems, Media servers, and IPCs, approved & used by Tier 1 companies.
* Fits 2 x 2.5″ SATA/SAS hard drive or SSD & 1 x slim optical disk drive (ODD).
* Accommodates hard drives or SSD with 7mm, 9.5mm, 12.5mm & 15mm Height.
* Supports SATA III & SAS 2.0 interface.
* Full aluminum body construction.
* Full Metal EZ Slide Mini Tray & EZ-ODD Tray system with Full Cage Design.
* 2 x 4 pin power connector to properly power all components.
* Available 40mm cooling fan.
* On & off switch for cooling fan, reduce the power usage and fan noise when using SSD.
* Status LED on Front for each drive.
* Top cover for the tray adds extra drive/ODD protection.
* Perfect for SFF (small form factor) case, IPC, HTPC, NAS, Home Server and All-In-One computers.
* Active Power Technology – Device & fan only powers up if a drive is installed.

Model Number :
Color :
Matt Black
Host Interface :
7 pin SATA x 4
Drive Fit :
2.5″ SAS / SATA HDD or SSD x 2
Slim type ODD x 1
Drive Bay :
Single 5.25″ half height device bay
Transfer Rate :
Up to 6 Gb/sec. (depending on hard drive speed)
Insert& Extract connection Via :
Direct SATA connection
Structure :
Aluminum & SECC
Device Power :
Dual 4 pin Molex power
Drive Cooling :
One 40mm rear cooling fan + fan power switch
Metal heat dispersion
Power Indicator :
Solid Green LED (Power On)
HDD Access Indicator :
Flashing Amber LED
Dimension (L x W x H) :
6.70″ x 5.75″ x 1.63″
Weight :
1.77 lbs

Tracking Protection Lists

this has got to be the coolest thing that I’ve ever seen.

why doesn’t Microsoft advertise stuff like this better?

looks like it is ‘Internet Explorer Only’.. that’s allright.. IE rocks, it’s my fave browser easily.

I was doing some interesting stuff with browser automation last job, a couple of times over the years I’ve really enjoyed using Visual Basic to automate Internet Explorer.

Fun times, all around.


Below are several Tracking Protection Lists (also called TPLs) created by companies and organizations that want to help consumers understand and make choices about their online privacy. You can add individual lists by clicking the “Add TPL” links on the right side of the page. To manage your lists, click on the Tools button, point to Safety, then click Tracking Protection. These tracking protection lists were created by their respective authors, who are solely responsible for maintaining the lists and for their content. Microsoft does not control any of these lists.

Click here for answers to commonly asked questions about TPLs.

Abine, The Online Privacy Company, is the leading provider of online privacy solutions for consumers. Abine’s products and services allow regular people to regain control over their personal information while continuing to browse, interact, and shop online.

Abine’s Tracking Protection List blocks many online advertising and marketing technologies that can track and profile you as you browse the Web. This list is updated weekly to keep you safer and more private.

Visit the Abine website for more information about this Tracking Protection List.

EasyPrivacy Tracking Protection List is based on the popular EasyPrivacy subscription for Adblock Plus and is managed by the well-known EasyList project, which serves nearly ten million daily users and has a large support forum with dozens of experienced members able to assist resolving any issues that may arise.

Visit the EasyList website for more information about this Tracking Protection List.

PrivacyChoice maintains a comprehensive database of tracking companies, including domains used by nearly 300 ad networks and platforms, tracking methods, summaries of key policies, oversight, and opt-out and opt-in processes.

PrivacyChoice has created Tracking Protection Lists based on this data. You have the option of installing two lists. The first list blocks companies that are not subject to oversight by the NAI and the second list blocks all tracking company domains in the PrivacyChoice database. These lists will be automatically updated with new tracking domains discovered through continuous website scanning and user panels.

Visit the PrivacyChoice website for more information about this Tracking Protection List.

TRUSTe is the leading online privacy certification and services provider. TRUSTe’s TRUSTed Tracking Protection List enables relevant and targeted ads from companies that demonstrate respectful consumer privacy practices and comply with TRUSTe’s high standards and direct oversight. TRUSTe helps users get good ads, without compromising personal privacy.

Visit the TRUSTe website for more information about this Tracking Protection List.

database abstraction

Database setup

this software uses databank package to abstract out the data storage for the system. Any databank driver should work. Couchbase, MongoDB and Redis are probably the best bets for production servers, but the disk or even memory drivers can work for testing.

If you’re confused, just use the MongoDB one, databank-mongodb.

You can find other drivers like so:

npm search databank

One tricky bit is that the driver you use has to be available to the databank package. There are two ways to make that work.

First, you can install globally. For example:

npm install -g databank-mongodb

Use this if you installed the package globally.

Second, you can install in the databank directory.

npm install databank-mongodb

Note that you also need to install and configure your database server.

Internet Explorer ROCKS. Have I already told you this?

Internet Explorer & Modern Web Standards
Modern web applications require support for the latest web standards. With Internet Explorer 11, we have delivered our most standards-compliant browser ever, including extensive support for industry standards such as HTML5, CSS3, SVG, WebGL, and ECMAScript. We are committed to modern web standards and work closely with standards bodies like the W3C and Ecma International to help develop these standards and bring them to the marketplace through programs like the Internet Explorer Testing Center.

Test cases from the Internet Explorer Testing Center

While any browser can claim to support some or all of a specification, the test results from a comprehensive test suite are the best way to determine which browsers will render the same markup consistently. Microsoft created and maintains over 8,700 test cases that are shared with web standards organizations and the public, to ensure standards-based consistency across the ecosystem. Great standards support in Internet Explorer means that when you build sites based on modern web standards, your sites will work across browsers and devices that have adopted these industry standards. Building on HTML5 with Internet Explorer is the best way to develop for your business, today and tomorrow.

Another great resource is http – //, which contains tools, guidance, demos, and other resources to help update web sites to modern standards. There are free virtual machines for Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as a compatibility scanner that works both online and offline. If you haven’t checked lately, it’s worth a visit!

In other news, as Joe Belfiore mentioned at Mobile World Congress, Microsoft is enhancing support for enterprise customers by improving Internet Explorer 8 compatibility in Internet Explorer 11. This is especially critical for web-based line of business applications, which may be standardized on older versions of Internet Explorer. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months, and please attend my TechEd North America session WIN-B320 for a deep dive on Internet Explorer application compatibility.

Google Docs adding support for 3rd party add-ons

Wow this looks interesting.

Too bad that Microsoft has offered this for TWENTY YEARS NOW!


Bring a little something extra to Docs and Sheets with add-ons

Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2014
You use Google Docs and Sheets to get all sorts of stuff done—whether you’re staying up late to finish that final paper or just getting started on a new project at the office. But to help take some of that work off your shoulders, today we’re launching add-ons—new tools created by developer partners that give you even more features in your documents and spreadsheets.

To browse through add-ons for Docs and Sheets, select Get add-ons in the Add-ons menu of any open document or spreadsheet. (Add-ons for spreadsheets are only available in the new Google Sheets).

Once you install an add-on it will become available across all of your documents or spreadsheets and you can start using it right away.

Here are just a few examples of how add-ons can help you do more with Docs and Sheets:

Print address labels and name tags 
With Avery Label Merge you can seamlessly import addresses or names from Sheets into Docs for printing. Just pick the type of Avery labels you’ll be printing and your document will be formatted to match the layout of your label pack.

Create a bibliography without leaving Docs 
Citing sources is about to get much easier for the millions of students who use Google Docs to write papers. TheEasyBib Bibliography Creator helps you cite books, journals, and websites in MLA, APA, and Chicago style by entering in titles, journal article names, and websites right inside your document.

Send customized emails 
With Merge by Mailchimp you can send customized emails from Google Docs. Use merge tags to pull info from a spreadsheet into your document. Once your data is merged, hit send and your personalized emails will be delivered.

Get approvals from Docs and Sheets 
Need to gather approvals or feedback? Letter Feed Workflows routes your document to the right people and adds a simple “Approve” button right inside your document or spreadsheet. You’ll be notified as soon as it’s approved, and can publish the final version with a single click.

These are just some of the many add-ons that are available for you to use right now in the Docs or Sheets add-on stores, with lots more on the way.

Posted by Saurabh Gupta, Product Manager

This is ridiculous. XP is 13 years old

I was *VERY* sad when Windows 2000 only had a lifespan that lasted about 2 years.  Windows 2000 to ME is what Windows XP is to most other people. Stability, simplicity, performance.

I never cared for the extra blue themes, the orange buttons.. XP never floated my boat.

But 11 years ago, we went to war.. against security problems with Windows XP.. the malware problems.. Windows XP *LOST* that war.

but we WON.

I’ve personally known for the past 12 years that it is impossible to keep Windows XP secure.

That’s why I find it funny when people claim that Windows XP is still secure today.

NO, I don’t think that Microsoft should keep Windows XP on life support.

Get with the times peoples. Vista ROCKS. Windows 7 ROCKS.  Windows 8 ROCKS. And Windows 8.1 ROCKS.



Perspective: Microsoft risks security reputation ruin by retiring XP

A decade ago, Microsoft kicked off SDL, or Security Development Lifecycle, a now-widely-adopted process designed to bake security into software, and began building what has become an unmatched reputation in how a vendor writes more secure code, keeps customers informed about security issues, and backs that up with regular patches.

But the Redmond, Wash. company, which just touted SDL’s 10-year history with a flashy, anecdote-filled online presentation, seems willing to risk torching that hard-won reputation by pulling the plug on Windows XP.

Microsoft plans to ship the final public patches for Windows XP on April 8. After that, it will not deliver fixes for security vulnerabilities it and others find in the 13-year-old operating system.

The result, even Microsoft has said, could be devastating. Last October, the company said that after April 8, Windows XP would face a future where machines are infected at a rate 66% higher than before patches stopped.

“After April [2014], when we release monthly security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will try and reverse engineer them to identify any vulnerabilities that also exist in Windows XP,” said Tim Rains, director of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing group. “If they succeed, attackers will have the capability to develop exploit code to take advantage of them.”

Microsoft has justified its stoppage of Windows XP patches by reminding everyone that it has supported the OS longer than any others, which is true: Its normal practice is to patch an operating system for 10 years. And it has argued that Windows XP is old, outdated software that is less secure than its newer operating systems: Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

Again, true.

The problem that Microsoft has only occasionally touched on is that Windows XP powers a massive number of personal computers around the world. According to Internet measurement company Net Applications, 29.5% of the globe’s PCs ran XP in February. Using estimates of the number of Windows PCs now in operation, that “user share” translates into approximately 488 million systems.

Four hundred and eighty-eight million.

If every PC sold in the next 12 months was one destined to replace an existing Windows XP system, it would take more than a year and a half — about 20 months — to eradicate XP. Windows XP isn’t going anywhere.

Even if one discounts the 70% of the approximately 300 million XP machines in China that are not regularly updated with existing patches — the 70% statistic comes from Microsoft — that still leaves 278 million machines.

Microsoft has never faced this situation before, with a soon-to-be-retired OS running a third of all the Windows PCs worldwide. So on one hand it’s not surprising that it has stuck to its guns, and is pushing XP into the sunset and forgetting it.

But by doing that, it could hurt itself as much as the customers who end up with an infected XP system.

There’s the real possibility that large-scale infections of Windows XP will paint the Windows brand as insecure, fulfilling the implicit prophecy the company made late last year. To most people, Windows is Windows is Windows, with no distinction between XP and the newest, locked-down 8.1. And for those people, Windows is Microsoft because it’s the best known of the company’s software.

So if post-April headlines appear that shout, “Windows under massive attack,” Microsoft’s reassurances that the bug can be exploited only on XP, that newer editions of Windows are safe to use, will be lost amidst the noise.

Outside its own software, Microsoft has other reasons for worry. As the company has often said, it’s not just Windows that it must keep secure, it’s the entire Windows ecosystem, the gamut of software that runs on the platform. A bug in a third-party program, such as Adobe’s like-a-sieve Flash Player, which has had to be patched 18 times in the face of ongoing attacks since 2010, reflects poorly not just on Adobe but also on Microsoft. That’s because Windows powers 90% of the world’s PCs.

That’s one reason why Microsoft has reached out to third-party developers — Adobe being just one — to help them craft their own SDL-like processes, a fact last week’s retrospective trumpeted when it said its SDL guidance had been downloaded more than 1 million times since 2008.

Co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates made the connection in an all-company email he sent in January 2002, the call to action memorandum that ultimately led to SDL. “Our new design approaches need to dramatically reduce the number of such issues that come up in the software that Microsoft, its partners and its customers create,” Gates said. “Trustworthiness is a much broader concept than security, and winning our customers’ trust involves more than just fixing bugs and achieving ‘five-nines’ availability. It’s a fundamental challenge that spans the entire computing ecosystem, from individual chips all the way to global Internet services (emphasis added).”


Gates stepped down from his role as chairman of the board last month, and will spend more time at Microsoft advising new CEO Satya Nadella on product and technology issues.

By letting XP slide into retirement while it still powers so many PCs, Microsoft risks tainting the Windows brand as insecure and the Windows ecosystem as infection-prone. And if Windows XP becomes an ongoing cesspool of malware, it could ruin a decade of efforts to beef up the security of that brand and ecosystem.

The work has paid off. Most security professionals consider Microsoft the bar every other vendor should strive to meet. They have applauded the company’s SDL processes, the fact it issues advisories of new threats accompanied by quick-and-dirty workarounds, its once-monthly patching schedule, and the informative — nay, sometimes exhaustive — descriptions of the those fixed flaws and how customers can defend against them.

Microsoft has good business reasons for retiring Windows XP from support: Most of its Windows revenue comes from licensing new copies of the operating system to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), like Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and dozens of others, for the approximately 300 million new PCs that factories will ship this year.

If it continued to support XP, Microsoft must think, its partners would sell fewer new computers — in the main, that’s how old operating systems are replaced, not by in-place upgrades — and it would sell fewer copies of Windows. Microsoft doesn’t make money off existing computers; it makes money off ne

w computers. (Although there are signs that that is changing as the company strives for more services revenue.)

And Microsoft not only can call those business shots, it has the right to do so. Few argue otherwise.

But it could also be argued that by quitting XP, Microsoft risks an intangible: the company’s reputation, and that of Windows, in the face of large-scale malware outbreaks that infect those unprotected machines. In turn, those PCs could — as has happened in the past — infect others, including any running newer editions that for one reason or another have not been patched in time.

If that happens, few — even those running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 who have argued that users are responsible for running the most up-to-date software — will blame those still running XP. They’ll blame Microsoft, as customers always do when stuff goes south.

Microsoft must have calculated that the risk to its reputation is warranted, that the damage would be less than the reduction of revenue if it continued to support XP, and the reduction of future revenue that would mean by setting a precedent.

Yet it has already set that precedent. When it extended XP’s lifespan from the normal 10 years to almost 13, it established a policy that may need to be repeated years from now, as Windows 7, the standard edition for businesses, approaches its end of support in 2020. If Windows 8.1 and its successors don’t change corporate opinion, Microsoft may be forced into acknowledging Windows 7’s importance with a similar extension. It has already hinted as much by postponing the deadline by which OEMs must stop selling new business PCs with Windows 7 Professional pre-installed.

So far, Microsoft has done little but repeatedly tell customers that the end of XP is near and that they should move to Windows 8.1, either by upgrading the OS or by purchasing a new device with Windows 8.1 already installed. Both have been met with incredulity and derision by users stuck on XP.

Microsoft’s one-beat drum — Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1, only Windows 8.1 — seems as tone-deaf as its initial refusal to recognize customer beefs about Windows 8 were more than the usual griping. When Julie Larson-Green, then the co-lead for Windows, said last May, “We’re not stubborn” about changing Windows 8, she could have been talking about the company’s kill-XP strategy.

If Microsoft did decide to change direction, it has several options that have been proposed by customers, analysts and other observers.

  • Do a 180-degree turn and continue to patch XP. This would be the easiest to implement, but not to stomach, for Microsoft. The company could let natural replacement take its course, and keep patching XP until it reaches a lower share of all Windows PCs, that share set and publicized by Microsoft. The company could bolster its position by revealing the percentage of PCs running XP that access Windows Update, a telemetric mark it has declined to disclose, to show how prevalent XP really is, rather than make the media and customers rely on estimates from the likes of Net Applications.
  • Continue to support XP, but only with patches for critical vulnerabilities. Microsoft’s security team has already committed to crafting patches for critical and important vulnerabilities in Windows XP, as those will be provided to enterprises that have paid $200 per PC for the first year of extra-extended support. (Those companies automatically receive all updates rated critical, but must pay extra, above and beyond the $200 per machine fee, for those pegged important.) If it did this, it would probably have to refund those moneys, or perhaps automatically ship the important updates free of charge to companies that ponied up for the additional support.
  • Offer the extra-extended support to everyone for a fee. Microsoft could offer a subscription to the uber-extended support to everyone, including the consumers and small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) not eligible for the corporate plan. Pricing the subscription would be the most difficult part of this decision: Low enough to entice a sizable number, high enough to be materially important as a replacement for the revenue Microsoft assumes it would lose in new licenses to OEMs. Customers have suggested numbers like $50 or $60 a year.
  • Revive Windows 7 and discount an XP-to-Windows 7 upgrade. Microsoft has already removed Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional from its own sales outlets, and stopped selling copies to middlemen like Newegg and Amazon. (Those retailers continue to sell the edition because they, or the distributors they rely on, have stockpiled copies.) By reviving Windows 7, and offering that as an upgrade from XP — few XP PC owners seem interested in making the jump to the radically-redesigned Windows 8 — Microsoft sells a license to Windows, if not to the newest Windows. A steep discount, perhaps to the $39.99 it charged customers for the Windows 7-to-Windows 8 upgrade in late 2012 and early 2013, might entice a measurable number to ditch XP. Reducing the price even further — to the $19.99 Apple charged in 2012 for OS X 10.8, aka Mountain Lion — should shake loose even more customers from XP, according to studies of upgrade pricing and user share changes.
  • Kick off a Windows XP PC trade-in program in cooperation with one or more OEMs. If Microsoft is really serious about getting XP out of circulation, one approach would be to have customers turn in their old XP-powered PCs for a new device. Microsoft has run buyback programs before — last year it tried to goose sales of Surface tablets and Windows smartphones by paying customers for their used iOS and Android mobile devices — and could do much the same for aged XP PCs. The deal would probably have to be limited to its own retail stores, or possibly the stores-inside-stores it’s created within the Best Buy chain, because of the need to verify eligibility and assist users in moving data, settings, even applications, from the old to the new systems. But the reach of Best Buy and its Geek Squad technical assistance could make a plan like this realistic.

Such a program could advance several goals Microsoft has set. It would promote Windows 8.1 devices, and be seen as a way to boost that edition’s profile as much as to eradicate XP. If the devices, after a trade-in, were in the lowest-priced category — Microsoft’s reportedly cut Windows 8.1’s license fee for sub-$250 notebooks — it might quiet the complaints from some current XP-forever users that they can’t afford to upgrade and simultaneously attack Chrome OS-based Chromebooks, the cheap laptops that Microsoft seems to be very concerned about. Additionally, a trade-in or trade-up program would bring some XP users into the Microsoft Account fold, the single sign-on used to connect to the company’s services, and so into the customer pool for those services.

But because it’s the most radical of moves, it’s also the one least likely for Microsoft, conservative by nature, to make.

Undoubtedly, Microsoft has thought of those options, and likely many more: The company doesn’t lack for brainy people, even though some of its marketing messaging has been off-key. But by the evidence — silence most of all — it rejected them and decided
to continue the march to XP patch cut-off.

That’s a shame. Because once Windows’s reputation and that of the ecosystem starts taking hits because unpatched XP systems become infected, it will be too late to do much more than watch that reputation swirl toward the drain.

None of the above suggestions are guaranteed to hasten the elimination of Windows XP from the rolls of active operating systems; ultimately, only time will do that. But by taking one or more of those steps, Microsoft could point to what it has done to help customers get off XP, rather than have others point out what it has not done. That could mean the difference between a tainted reputation and one still credible.

Microsoft cannot afford a stumble like the one which that result from XP turning on its owners and the company that made it, not when the PC business has stagnated, when its tablet strategy has yet to pay off and when that same strategy relies on an operating system named “Windows.”