So what does End-of-Life Mean For Windows XP and you?
You may already be aware that Microsoft has “retired” Windows XP, its 13 year old Operating System. To be more precise, they have ended support for the Operating System which means no more critical and security updates will be released which in turn means it will no longer be possible to secure the system against attack.
Without these updates from Microsoft your PC will become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information and steal your passwords. Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you now Windows XP itself is unsupported.
So what are your options?
Well, if you aren’t worried about security or you don’t connect to the Internet then you may as well stick with your faithful old XP computer! This is especially true if you have old applications installed or hardware attached which may not be compatible with the later versions of Windows.
But if you are worried then you have two options, upgrade your current computer to a later Windows Operating System or buy a new computer. I guess there is a third option: get rid of the Windows XP computer and buy an Mac or a tablet!
Your first option is the latest version of Windows which is 8.1.1, a very different kettle of fish to XP. For starters it has no “Start” button on the screen and also comes with two vastly different interfaces (one designed for touch screens). There is a fairly steep learning curve with Windows 8 and some people really do not like it, me included. But don’t get me wrong, it is a good OS that works very well on later hardware and I am sure it works well on tablets as well, but from my point of view they have made Windows 8 a lot more complex than it needs to be from a maintenance and support viewpoint.
The other option is Windows 7 but this is not available from all suppliers or on all brand name computers. Windows 7 does at least have a familiar feel to it and you will find most things located in the same place as in Windows XP. You won’t have too many problems transitioning from XP to 7.
Note: our supplier can still source Windows 7 and this OS will be supported by Microsoft for at least the next 6 years according to their End-of-life fact sheets.
So what should you do?
You need to decide if you want to stick with your old XP computer or upgrade your OS on your current computer or buy a new one. If you choose option 2 or 3 you will have to decide between Windows 7 or 8. Obviously your budget will have an effect on these decisions. You will also need to factor in extra costs such as transferring all of your programs and data (assuming you don’t want to do it yourself). You may also need to replace aging hardware such as printers and scanners which may not be compatible with 7 or 8. If you do replace your computer then this would also be a good time to upgrade applications such as Microsoft Office.
So a number of questions need to be answered and please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like help with these!
Note: If you decide to stick with Windows XP then these are my recommendations to ensure the best safety online but these steps are not guaranteed to keep you safe:
- don’t do any Internet banking, buy anything online or do anything that requires credit card or bank details
- avoid any websites that require a login, particularly those which may store sensitive or personal data
- do not click on any links in mail messages
Click on this link to read a good article from PC Authority: The end of an era .