At the beginning of April 2014 Microsoft will cease to provide support for its popular but ageing operating system, Microsoft XP.
In our experience, if you’re an XP user, you’ve probably got one of the following reactions.
1. Indifference. You like XP, it’s been working well for you for the past 12 years, you’re happy to carry on using it with or without Microsoft’s support.
To be honest, this approach could do with a bit of a re-think. If Microsoft is no longer supporting XP, it means it’s no longer providing security patches or updates to deal with viruses or vulnerabilities in the system. If you want to carry on using XP, you’ll have to find ways of dealing with these problems independently – which could be expensive.
In addition, some commentators have pointed out that companies continuing to use XP could find themselves targeted by hackers who know that there won’t be an easy way to block them.
2. Panic. You like XP, you and your employees are used to it, and you don’t like the look of its successors, particularly Windows 8 with its unfamiliar-looking start screen. You don’t want to change.
If you’re feeling like this, relax. Microsoft is planning some tweaks to Windows 8 to make it work better for users who don’t have touch screens, and Windows 9 will be coming along in 2015. The newer operating systems perform better, boot up more quickly, and launch applications faster, making an upgrade more than worthwhile.
Your IT department or external IT support company can support you through the whole migration process, and you’ll soon be wondering why you carried on so long with such an outmoded operating system. Your employees will start bringing in their tablets and synching their own devices with your business systems, making for a more exciting, creative and productive work environment.
3. Excitement. At 12 years old, Windows XP is a dinosaur in terms of operating systems, and don’t you know it. You’ve just never been able to justify an upgrade before. The end of support for Windows XP is providing the excuse you needed, and you’ve already been out. shopping for new, Windows 8-compatible devices.
Great. But just hold your horses for a moment. Remember that there’s no direct upgrade path between Windows XP and Windows 7 and 8. The migration has got to be planned, you’ll need to do a full back-up of all data, decide how you’ll replace old applications that won’t work on the new operating systems, and make sure all your staff are trained.
Windows XP has been extraordinary successful and unusually long-lived for an operating system, largely due to the fact that people feel very comfortable with it. But during the 12 years of its existence, there has been masses of progress in other areas of technology.
Smartphones, tablets, other touch-screen devices, social media, and satellite mapping have all helped us to become better connected and responsive in our personal lives, even if we’re still plodding along with rather ancient kit in the office. Microsoft’s forcefully pushing everyone out of their comfort zones by withdrawing support for XP could be just what you need to bring your business fully into the 21st century.