The end of life for one of the most popular operating systems ever is coming on April 8, 2014. Yes, Microsoft® Windows® XP—still one of the most used operating systems—is going to fade into history.
So what does “end of life” really mean to the average user or business using Windows XP? Essentially after April 8 next year, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates and non-security hotfixes, offer free or paid support options, nor update online support information for Microsoft Windows XP. As a result, your computing environment will become more susceptible to security risks, which could be a compliancy issue if you work with or in the public sector or with organizations that require technology compliance. Another big exposure is that independent hardware and software suppliers will not support newer versions of their products on non-compliant or outdated systems.
With the end of support for Microsoft Windows XP (and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 in July 2015) you may be wondering what options you have to migrate to newer versions. Microsoft is providing several evaluation tools and migration strategies to help:
Large enterprises: The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit can help you determine how to upgrade more complex systems along with helping you determine if your hardware resources meet the minimum specifications to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.
Small and medium sized businesses: Microsoft offers discount coupons and special offers for new or replacement computer systems to take the edge off the pain of upgrading. One option that many companies overlook is evaluation of different Microsoft licensing programs such as open licensing. Smaller companies often go through OEM licensing (original equipment manufacturer) when they purchase new equipment. There are several licensing programs through Microsoft that could save you money so make sure you engage a Microsoft reseller partner to understand the best licensing option for your organization.
With the end of Windows XP, what are some reasons you should be excited to upgrade to Microsoft Windows 8? Outside of the most common, such as improved security, here are a few features to look forward to:
- Faster startups!!! We have all endured the Microsoft start up process, which could leave you with that “what were they thinking” feeling….Windows 8 now rivals Apple on its startup speed. This was a focus of Microsoft during the development stage of Windows 8. They knew startup speed was hurting them and they made great strides in this area.
- The new frontier of apps! Windows 8 has opened up a new frontier for PC users with full screen, touchscreen, and web connected apps. Plus you can easily install Windows 8 apps on other Windows 8 devices without paying again.
- Improved security and less intrusive updates! Microsoft has gone to great pains to greatly improve the overall security in Windows 8. Microsoft has put in checks and balances so that the operating system won’t load applications that have not been verified with the manufacturer, and has built in processes that stop malware and spyware without third party anti-virus software (although, from my perspective, I would not recommend this).
- Touchscreen, keyboard or mouse! Microsoft did a great job with the design and implementation of the touchscreen technologies. However, if you still like the keyboard and mouse they work great as well.
Windows 8 is a big step forward, although it has not gone without some glitches. However, Microsoft has given us a solid move-forward platform. That coupled with new hardware such as convertible computers (half PC and half tablet), Windows phones, and improved tablet technologies for mobility makes this a good time to explore new computing strategies and how your business could benefit.
About the Author
Scott Lewis has over 30 years experience in the selection, implementation and management of business technology resources. Winning Technologies is a business management company that specializes in the construction industry and technology management within the construction vertical. Winning Technologies maintains 12 offices around the country visit www.winningtech.com for more information.