Posted on Monday, December 02, 2013
Windows XP's days are numbered. April 8, 2014 is the deadline for all Windows XP fixes to be coming forth from Microsoft.
What does this mean for you? What should you be doing now before it is too late?
Windows XP is called by some the operating system that would not die. Certainly its longevity can be attributed to the fact that Windows Vista proved to be unpopular for many and a lot of businesses had built several applications that drive their business around Internet Explorer 6.
However, Microsoft has been saying for quite some time now that Windows XP will not be supported after April 8, 2014. What this means is that after that date, no more Windows Updates will be released for that version of Windows.
How does this affect you?
If you have computers in your office or home that are still running Windows XP Home or Professional, or even any computers still running Office 2003, then any newly discovered security holes in these software titles will not be fixed.
You may ask, "So? What's the big deal?"
Consider this: Each month, Microsoft releases a batch of updates that plug security holes in Windows. Many of these security holes are the kind that, if left unchecked, will allow a hacker to execute any code they want on your computer, often without you knowing. And that code won't be friendly either. For every patch that comes out for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.x after April 8, 2014, hackers will immediately reverse engineer the code to see if Windows XP shares the same vulnerability. If it does, and by Microsoft's own admission this is usually the case, then that security fix becomes a known vulnerability for Windows XP for anyone and everyone with the knowhow to use against you if you are running Windows XP. To make matters worse, it will never get fixed by Microsoft. The further and further we get from April 8, 2014, the more vulnerabilities will exist and will not be fixed.
What if I just disconnect my Windows XP from the Internet then?
This is certainly an option, and really, it is the only secure option for you after April 8. That having been said, there is also something else to consider.
Many software vendors besides Microsoft are also dropping Windows XP support for their newest versions of their titles. For example, Quickbooks 2014, and Sage 50 2014 both do not support installation on Windows XP. Google has said that they will not support Internet Explorer 8 on their applications anymore. Internet Explorer 8 is the maximum version of IE that you can have on Windows XP.
For Microsoft Office users, the new 2013 edition is not supported on Windows XP. (Or Windows Vista for that matter) You must have Windows 7 or better to run it.
Antivirus software on Windows XP tends to make XP machines run slower as well.
But what if I don't want Windows 8 or 8.1?
Not to worry, Windows 7 is still available.
Image Computer Services has a wide variety of Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional units available. We can help you migrate away from Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 to Windows 7 and IE 9 or 10, or even IE 11 if you prefer. If you do have some legacy apps that require Windows XP to run, Windows 7 Professional does have a Windows XP mode that can help with this. (Note that Windows 8 does not have XP Mode as an optional add-on)
Windows XP has serves us well. But the world that XP was born into has moved on and so has Microsoft. And while XP has had a long stay of execution for support and security fixes, as the saying goes, "All good things must come to an end."
Mark April 8, 2014 on your calendar if you are still running Windows XP and Office 2003, and make the upgrade to Windows 7 as soon as you can.