GOODBYE WINDOWS XP!

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

This morning I logged into my office server by remote and was greeted by a warning from Microsoft.  Within 5 days (April 8, 2014), Microsoft will no longer support the Windows XP operating system. There will be no more security fixes, software updates or technical support, although Microsoft will still provide some anti-malware support for an unspecified amount of time.

As we also use Microsoft Security Essentials as our base anti-virus software, we will be exposed there as well!

This was not good news!

I believe that “Microsoft has given Windows XP users plenty of warning that XP support will end soon, but a study released in January by cloud-services provider Evolve IP found that nearly one in five information-technology decision makers were unaware the so-called “XPocalypse” was coming.” (Toms Guides). 

 I have to confess that I am one of those who were unaware!! (and I’m sure that this will apply to many of you too.)

It seems that computers that continue to run Windows XP will be at increased risk for malware infection after April 8.  The problem is that many businesses have critical XP-only applications. (we have a few of these!). Others simply can’t afford to upgrade to new PCs.

So, I’ve done some digging into how much of a risk we’re all running?  I found a very useful article at the following:

http://news.yahoo.com/still-safe-businesses-windows-xp-141552031.html;_ylt=Alka7dYCSca4HgCeLkW6P4nQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTBsbzR0bHJyBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHNlYwNzcg–

It seems that there are still a significant number of XP users out there (at least 15 percent of U.S. companies still run it, and it’s more than likely that the percentage locally will be even greater)

Tom’s Guide goes on to say: “It’s clear that there are a lot of companies, both large and small, that need to upgrade their computers. Small and medium-sized businesses with tiny or outsourced IT staffs may not have the time or the budget to do so before April 8.”

So where does that leave us?

Well, on the same link, Tom’s Guide provides a few extra recommendations which I found useful – certainly in enabling one to make an informed decision.  Check out:

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/running-windows-xp-how-to,news-18270.html

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/pictures-story/514-security-fixes-right-now.html

These last two links provide some very useful guidelines on what to do about this.  Please don’t put this off until something serious goes wrong.  Give it some serious thought, and I suggest get your ‘computer people’ to do an audit of your software and hardware components, so they can advise you correctly.

And if you have to make the change – although it’s easier said than done – I suggest you don’t go the route of ‘upgrading’ old hardware.  It invariably doesn’t work and just creates more hassles (and irritation) down the line.  Wherever you can, just get new computers.