Windows XP Retirement
On the 8th April 2014 Windows XP will cease to be supported by Microsoft. This has wide ranging implications for all those users still out there running what was the most popular operating system of it’s day. Indeed after being succeeded by Vista it was loved twice over for it’s relative stability and ‘just getting the job done’ reputation.
Why should I care?
There are a lot of users who when they hear this first ask what do I care? I’ve never rang Microsoft for support before why would I need to all of a sudden. But this isn’t the issue, support comes in many forms and for an operating system that’s been around since October 2001 the majority of the support is in the form of patches, be they for additional functionality or security. The latter is one of the critical importance as while your anti-virus may still get some updates for known threats the chances are that you will be left open to any new threats as and when they come about. A network is only as strong as it’s weakest link and XP will offer a gateway into organisations that were otherwise protected until security patching ended.
What should I do?
With a lump in your throat you should put the machine into retirement. The choice for replacements is huge and depending on what you use the machine for and who uses it I would suggest either going to the totally new Windows 8 (Which should get an update of it’s own shortly to make it more reminiscent of the XP navigation system) or the more proven and resilient Windows 7 (Still the main choice for enterprises that we’ve dealt with)
When should I do it?
That depends on your budget. If you can afford it then the sooner the better to avoid getting told to wait for available capacity from your IT provider to run the install. A properly managed and planned migration is a lot more cost effective than rushed implementations at the end of March next year. Plus if you time it right you can take advantage of any end of quarter bargains the hardware providers might be offering.
Microsoft have a site up for the retirement and while it’s obviously pushing Windows 8, 7 is equally relevant to most of the points.