The End of an Era

Support for Windows XP ends on 8thApril 2014 and many a tear will be shed by businesses as one of its trusted companions for the last 10 years goes out of service. Windows XP is an unsung hero for businesses, it’s one of Microsoft’s “few” success stories with regards to user operating systems over the past 10 years. Remember Vista and just lately the first version of Windows 8 and how much trouble they caused??

Windows XP just worked and it still works. There are still a lot of businesses using Windows XP as the core of their PC and laptop fleet but with Microsoft stopping support and software now being designed for later operating systems like Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1, businesses are going to have to make the decision to replace it.

The drivers to change:

There are 2 major reasons why businesses need to replace Windows XP before the support runs out:

  1. Microsoft will not release any further security patches for Windows XP and that makes it vulnerable to security risks. Despite XP being ever reliable it had hundreds, if not thousands of security flaws that were regularly fixed by patches released on a regular basis by Microsoft. When XP stops being supported, these security patches will cease and the vulnerabilities still there will be exploited by hackers and malicious software writers. This leaves businesses extremely vulnerable to unauthorised access as well as the potential to fail security and industry audits.
  2. Software vendors will not be designing software for Windows XP, so any software businesses purchase in all likelihood won’t work on it. The software being designed now is for the later 64 bit operating systems, it won’t work on the earlier 32 bit operating systems like Windows XP.

What to do:

There are basically 3 choices when it comes to deciding what to do about your existing Windows XP computers:

  1. If the current PC meets the system requirements for Windows 7 and Windows 8, then Windows 7 or 8 Professional licences can be purchased and the computer can be upgraded.
  2. If the current PC does not meet the system requirements then a new PC will need to be purchased.
  3. Move to a virtual desktop environment and replace your computers with cheaper thin terminals or implement a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. This gives people the flexibility to work on their own equipment but still provides a corporate, structured environment for them to work in.

Next Steps

Support ends on 8th April 2014, so if you’ve got Windows XP computers and you haven’t started preparing to decommission them, you need to start soon. There are challenges, particularly if you are still using legacy software that will only run on Windows XP. You will have to consider either upgrading that software, replacing it or changing business processes to cope with the change.

About the Author

Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled Technology Director at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.

Surety IT can help you create the right system to enhance your business, ensuring you know how it is right for you and how to use it. We will tailor a solution to suit your needs with leading systems, local support and more, building your vision for a more flexible and capable business.

Call us today on 1300 478 738 or email to discuss your requirements.