Windows XP Support Terminated

Effective April 8, 2014, Microsoft terminated support for Windows XP.  This is a concern – according to a recent Spiceworks survey, up to 75% of respondents indicate that at least one computer on their home or business network is running a version of Windows XP.

This has the potential for serious ramifications.  Support end means no more critical or security updates, leaving computers potentially vulnerable to hackers, especially business computers.  As a small consolation, Microsoft is offering some support through mid-July for XP users that can’t upgrade by Tuesday and is discounting its Windows 8 Pro and Office 2013 products for small and medium-size businesses until the end of June.

What you can and should do:

– Immediately create a full backup of all data.  Not system files, just data.  Create two, one to keep in storage and one to use for transferring files from the XP computer to a new one.  USB thumb (flash) drives or external hard drives are very good for this purpose.

– Ensure your network is secure.  Firewalls are updated, use network address translation (NAT), and change passwords regularly on the network.

– Upgrade those older computers.  Windows XP was the most popular operating system released by Windows XP as proved by its 12-year run.  Upgrade options include: Windows 7 (either refurbished or some new still exist), Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

The important part of upgrading is to determine whether older applications will run on newer operating systems.  That requires plenty of testing in new environments.  Be warned that some applications might not run on newer version of Microsoft’s operating system and be prepared to replace or upgrade them.  Contact vendors to see if a later version is available.

For more information, visit Microsoft’s site on XP support end.  Finally, contact a local tech support company or person that can help with the transition from old to new.