Microsoft Offers $100 to Cash-Strapped Windows XP Users

Using Windows XP, but can't afford to upgrade to a newer operating system? If so, you're in a bit of luck: Microsoft is offering a $100 instant rebate on new computers and tablets for anyone who needs to trade up from XP.

There are a few catches, however: The hardware runs only Windows 8.1, it can only be purchased from the Microsoft Store, the model selection is fairly limited and everything that's available is pretty pricey.

MORE: How to Migrate from Windows XP Before Microsoft Pulls the Plug

With the "XPocalypse" — the official end of all Microsoft support and security updates for Windows XP — approaching April 8, millions of XP users worldwide are scrambling to update their systems. Many older XP machines can't run Windows 7 or 8, and their owners will have to buy new machines.

There's the cheap way to perform such a hardware upgrade: Shop around for a decent desktop tower under $500, and then plug in your existing monitor and keyboard.

Then there's the Microsoft way: Pay a lot for features you might not use, such as a touchscreen, and for Windows 8, an operating system not everyone wants.

The $100 rebate offer is "valid on select PC or Surface devices priced $599 or more" as the Microsoft Store promotional page states. There are no towers — desktops that go under the desk — available as part of the offer: only laptops, all-in-one desktops or Surface Pro 2 tablets.

All the devices have touchscreens, which adds to their cost. All the laptops and "2-in-1" devices (tablets that transform into laptops) sport Intel i5 or i7 central processing units, not cheaper Intel i3 or AMD chips. (The Microsoft Store does sell low-end laptops with AMD, i3 and Celeron chips, but they're not part of this.)

The offer, which runs until June 15, is only open to residents of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. You can qualify either by bringing a "qualifying Windows XP device" into a physical Microsoft Store or by making an online purchase using such a device.

We called the Microsoft Store to ask what constituted a qualifying Windows XP device. A representative we reached at the support number provided for the online store told us that if we'd been viewing the Windows XP offer page from a Windows XP machine, we'd have seen a special code we could enter.

A different representative, whom we reached at the number for the Manhattan Microsoft Store, told us that a qualifying device in a brick-and-mortar store meant a fully functioning Windows XP machine that had come with XP installed. He added that we'd also have to leave the old device at the Microsoft Store before we could take the new machine home.

The purported fringe benefits that come with the instant-rebate offer are illusory. The offer page states that you'll be entitled to a free data transfer from an XP machine using Laplink PCmover Express, but the truth is any XP user can download this software for free.

The page also says you get 90 days of the Microsoft Signature Experience, which means your computer has no pre-installed junkware or trialware, has Windows Defender as an anti-virus solution instead of a third-party trial version, and comes with free telephone support. But every shopper at the Microsoft Store gets that deal.

Finally, a price comparison shows that the offer may not be worth it. The least expensive laptop available, the Acer Aspire V5-473P-6459, costs $599 at the Microsoft Store; it's $379.99 at Amazon.

Even with the $100 instant rebate, you'd still be paying $119 more at the Microsoft Store — just enough to buy a second copy of Windows 8.1 for a friend.

Follow Paul Wagenseil at @snd_wagenseil. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Paul Wagenseil

Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. He has also been a dishwasher, fry cook, long-haul driver, code monkey and video editor. He's been rooting around in the information-security space for more than 15 years at, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily and Tom's Guide, has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, shown up in random TV news spots and even moderated a panel discussion at the CEDIA home-technology conference. You can follow his rants on Twitter at @snd_wagenseil.

  • memadmax
    "Support" or no "Support" they will STILL have to pry XP from my cold, dead hands...And you had better get a crowbar too because I'm not taking this pitiful win8 gag offer either. You offer me 7 and THEN we will start talking turkey.
  • canadianvice
    "Support" or no "Support" they will STILL have to pry XP from my cold, dead hands...And you had better get a crowbar too because I'm not taking this pitiful win8 gag offer either. You offer me 7 and THEN we will start talking turkey.
    If I can ever personally trace your computer to being responsible for being part of a botnet attack, I will find you, and I will punch you in the face. Yes, any version of Windows can be compromised, but using one that you know full well is going to be far easier to compromise is just negligent. That is all.
  • rwinches
    @canadianvice give it a rest already!!OK, Microsoft I will pay a subscription fee of $20 year for driver and security updates.If there are 10 Mil. others that would be $200 Mil which I think should cover your cost.
  • fonzy
    I have windows 7 but recently downloaded Linux Mint Debian edition as a dual boot. I like it, a bit of a learning curve though.....they couldn't pay me enough to switch from win 7 to Win 8, I would just stick with Mint as it is free.
  • Someone Somewhere
    I wonder if there's anything stopping me ordering it online and freight-forwarding it...If I can find one that's actually a reasonable deal, of course.
  • thebrickhouse
    For all of the articles Tom's puts out there about how XP users are supposed to be "scared" and "terrified" that Microsoft won't support XP anymore, I hope they do the right thing and write articles about free options, like Ubuntu. 14.04 LTS is coming in April too ya know. Oh wait! I forgot who is stuffing Tom's pockets (aka sponsoring) for those garbage articles... Microsoft... So much for fairness. *Toilet flushes
  • InvalidError
    I'm not going to replace $3000 worth of hardware (FPGA development boards) and ~$20 000 worth of software licenses (that I got for free in my academic days) to cash in a $100 discount on stuff I cannot use since the licenses are tied to my old P4. That hardware and software may be ~10 years old but it still gets my personal projects done.
  • cst1992
    Either Microsoft are fools or they believe we are fools.$100 discount for a product that's priced $179 higher? Why didn't they be honest atleast and said it's $ -79 discount?And Windows 8 is bad enough.Keep this up, Microsoft, you'll be bankrupt soon.
  • bebangs
    Virus/exploits will infect these xp machines. They'll come back like zombies.
  • Jaroslav Jandek
    I'm not going to replace $3000 worth of hardware (FPGA development boards) and ~$20 000 worth of software licenses (that I got for free in my academic days).
    Most academic licenses must be upgraded to regular licenses after graduation... If you get caught, you may be in trouble, watch out for that.