Recently the software team in my company decide to use VS2012 (upgrade from VS2008) but we found out that VS2012 does not provide a nice support for Windows XP (e.g. really hard to deploy .Net 3.5 managed C++ project).

So we want to convince our manager to drop Windows XP compatible development and and target Windows 7 only. This allows us to use some new technologies such as .Net 4.5 (we are using 3.5 ATM). But we have many existing customers are using Windows XP and they will not able to upgrade to new version of our software (we may still provide bug fixes for XP though).

So what are some good reasons to use VS2012 and drop XP compatibility?

What in my list currently:

  • Able to use .Net 4.5
  • Use VS2012 (without compile some project using VS2008 tool chain)
  • No need to test on XP machine
  • 3
    To point out the obvious, the first question you should ask your manager is what percentage of your customers (both new and existing) use Windows XP. Those numbers are probably going to be your manager's primary decision maker. If you don't have those numbers, find a way to get them.
    – Brian
    Jul 4, 2013 at 0:16
  • @Brian I don't have a number right now, but I know most of our customers are using XP.
    – Bryan Chen
    Jul 4, 2013 at 0:44
  • Finally we decided to drop XP support on our next major release which probably will come out next year.
    – Bryan Chen
    Jul 4, 2013 at 8:32

4 Answers 4


Windows XP has been out of mainstream support since April 2009, and is due to go out of extended support in April 2014. What that means for your customers is that from April of next year they will be getting no security updates, no MS Knowledge Base support, no paid support, no nothing.

See the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ for further information on this.

In other words, while XP may very well still work, if anything does go wrong they're on their own. In particular, it seems reasonable to expect that there will be quite an onslaught of exploits in the months following April, designed by malware authors to catch any XP holdouts.

Given the timescales involved, now is close to the last possible minute for most corporations to seriously start evaluating an upgrade. Many of your customers may have already advanced beyond the planning stage, and you may find it useful to talk to them about what their own plans are for transitioning from XP.

Despite this, I personally don't think that you should be dropping XP support just yet. If I were in your shoes, I'd be aiming to drop XP support at the same time as Microsoft do. That seems reasonable, and would allow you a good time window to start building and testing on 7+, which you're definitely going to need as there are some significant changes between the versions which you're going to need to deal with.

  • 2
    XP support comes at a non-zero cost, the opportunity cost of XP support may exceed revenues it generates (or at least revenues you do not loose by dumping it.) The decision has to be commercial not technical.
    – mattnz
    Jul 4, 2013 at 7:29
  • 1
    I personally think they should drop XP support later - even when Microsoft drops support for XP, they may be a significant number of customers still using it. We had the same problem with in the past NT4, and it was a wise decision to keep our product at least 2 years alive for that platform after Microsoft terminated NT4 support.
    – Doc Brown
    Jul 4, 2013 at 8:02

In one comment you say most of your customers are using XP.

You make the false assumption that it's good for your company to drop XP support.

You come with technical reasons but the only good reason you can give to your manager to drop XP support is: "It's going to make us more money." That's the only reason there is. And honestly I don't think you have a case for that.

  • 2
    I think I'd rephrase that to "it's going to increase our profits". I suspect there may be a case that continuing to provide develop for XP will cost more than the expected loss of income. Jul 4, 2013 at 13:23
  • 2
    Still, +1 for pointing out the bottom line. :) Jul 4, 2013 at 13:24
  • True, but the OP's comment doesn't give us enough information. The real question is how much profit XP-using customers bring. If the primary revenue source is new customers, then the breakdown of usage for existing customers may be less relevant.
    – Brian
    Jul 4, 2013 at 15:26

How much will your client pay to have a XP-compatible application? (Think maintenance cost over several years)

How much will your client pay to replace its old XP workstations by new Seven ones? (Which is probably already planned)


There is only one good reason you can give your manager: To support XP, you need to test on XP, which in turn means that you have to maintain at least one XP machine. And that's extra costly since it is a non-standard machine, without vendor support, so it has to be run in an extra secure environment (probably airgapped).

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.