Microsoft warns Windows XP users risk 'zero day forever'
A bigger problem for people who program casually, clinging to XP, is the jolt of future-shock they are in for. We already have to deal with one thread after another on the subject, but how bad are things going to get once all they can buy is Window 8.37?"But after April 8, 2014, organizations that continue to run Windows XP won’t have this advantage over attackers any longer. The very first month that Microsoft releases security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will reverse engineer those updates, find the vulnerabilities and test Windows XP to see if it shares those vulnerabilities. If it does, attackers will attempt to develop exploit code that can take advantage of those vulnerabilities on Windows XP."
Because a security update will never become available for XP after April 8, "Windows XP will essentially have a 'zero day' vulnerability forever," Rains [Microsoft's Director of Trustworthy Computing] said.
The differences between XP and a current OS like Win7 are large enough now to cause grief. But Microsoft plans to roll out a "new" Windows every 12 to 18 months from now on. When April 2014 rolls around the only thing for sale will be Windows 8.1 with 8.2 waiting in the wings. Postpone a move 2 more years until 2016 and some folks will hit a wall of too much to learn and too much of it gone (Microsoft drops some information about intermediate releases when a new Windows release gets near).
It is one thing to try to support users on downlevel systems (I even have a few Win95/98 users to support), but it is hard to imagine trying to use ancient versions of Windows for development.
VS 2012 doesn't even install on Windows prior to Win7 SP1 as far as I know.