WindowsXP_featureWhen Microsoft released Windows XP in 2001, no one could have predicted that it would still be in use in 2014. More amazing, it isn’t just still in use, it is still popular!

How popular? Around 30% of the world’s estimated one billion computers run Windows XP. That’s a lot of computers running an operating system that’s over a decade old. Despite a number of other operating systems available in today’s market, XP is second only to Windows 7 as the most-popular operating system around.

Windows XP has remained popular because it was stable, fast, powerful, and relatively simple to use. What’s more, many people still run XP simply because after more than a decade, it’s what they’ve become accustomed to using.

But every product life cycle must end eventually, and for Windows XP, that end date is April 8, 2014.

What does that mean for people still using XP?

Microsoft will stop releasing Windows Updates for Windows XP including security updates. Even though XP’s end-of-life date has been extended several times, this is really and truly the end.

While “end of life” sounds final and irreversible, understand that your XP computers will still function after April 8, 2014 as they did on April 7. However, the end of Microsoft support means there will be no security updates from that point forward. Any security flaws exposed by hackers will no longer be fixed. Furthermore, once Microsoft stops supporting XP, other software companies will follow suit with their own products. The time and expense involved in making sure programs and hardware work on all the versions of Windows out there means that extending support to XP after its end-of-life date will be cost-prohibitive for most software developers.

Can I still use XP once support has ended?

Because it will still operate after April 2014, you will be able to use XP, but it will be at your own risk. Antivirus software will provide some limited protection, but as time passes Antivirus software will gradually stop supporting windows XP. Internet browsing in general will become more difficult since the last version of Internet Explorer that runs under XP is version 8. Some websites already have features that do not display in Internet Explorer version 8.

What can we do?

If you still rely on Windows XP, we recommend that you start planning now to move to either Windows 7 or Windows 8. Windows 7 is a popular and successful operating system and has been widely adopted in the business world. It’s also a reasonably small leap for most users. The Windows 8 interface is a complete overhaul and the learning curve is much steeper.

There are many issues to consider when planning your migration from Windows XP:

  • Will our current hardware (printers, scanners, etc) work?
  • Will our custom business applications run correctly?
  • What sort of training will my staff need?
  • Are our computers capable of running Windows 7
  • …and more
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