The end is nigh for Windows XP

WindowsXP ImageWindows XP is still used extensively among businesses and schools. Largely because it works well. After all there have been over 300 patches and 3 service packs not to mention .net

All this has made Windows XP a long runner. It is also now very familiar to many. Your job role is becoming more pressured as the pace of life, leaning and business is ever-increasing. Do you look forward to change? Unfortunately this is not something you have any control over so it is my job to point you in the right direction.

So why do you have to change?

Support for Windows XP runs out in 2014. Well you still have plenty time then – NO you don’t.

There are several factors driving the early demise of Windows XP which was launched in 2002 – Yes that long ago.

Microsoft have made Internet Explorer 8 the last browser to be accepted by XP, this means many of the websites out there will shortly be inaccessible by Internet Explorer running on XP. You could use Firefox or Chrome instead to get around that issue and buy yourself a little more time.

Unfortunately an increasing number of new programs being released today are requiring a 64 bit operating system and XP is 32 bit. Without getting too technical this means any PC running XP is limited to a maximum of 4GB memory whereas 64 bit Vista & Windows 7 and Windows 8 can have 192GB memory and as a result will run these new programs faster.

Finally, with no more patches and updates being released the operating system becomes insecure as soon as someone comes up with an exploit. No one will fix it. This is likely to mean XP becomes vulnerable to viruses that no Anti-Virus software will be able to protect you against.

So what’s next

Well NOT Windows 8 that’s for sure. My advice to you is move now to Windows7 which has had much testing in the real world and is being used successfully by many businesses.

Why not Window 8? – It is a massive learning curve for finding your way around. It will require staff training to use it in it’s default setting. Now Microsoft say you can switch off the functionality and look of Windows 8 so it works just like Windows 7. So I say, might as well use Windows 7 then!

Windows 8 has not received much in the way of real world testing but early adopters are likely to be home users not businesses. I may be wrong about that, only time will tell.

Why not MAC?

I admit, Microsoft Windows 8 is trying desperately to challenge MAC OS which is a complete waste of time. MAC’s are cool. They have many good points and if you are a designer or work in the music industry it is hard to get the same functionality from a PC. You would if you spent as much on a PC as you would on a MAC by the way.

MAC’s don’t “just work” despite their claim. From a support desk point of view we get just as many issues from MACs as PCs that is a fact.

I love the iPad, I will buy myself a MAC Pro later this year for my hobby recording studio. What I won’t do is try to integrate my MAC Pro into my work network. Yes you can successfully share files, and even email but anything else requires a serious effort.

We look after a magazine in London with 70 PCs and 30 MACs so I have real world experience of this.

As for Linux – Support for this is highly specialist and very expensive. Many programs are not compatible without tweaks either. Stay clear is my advice.

So When?

Well I would say try to upgrade over the next 6 months to 1 year. Windows 7 is easily available right now and if you want to know your applications and hardware is Windows 7 ready then there is a free Microsoft tool for this.

In the past, when a new operating system is launched, Microsoft do everything they can to force you to buy it (in this case Windows 8) Windows 8 is due for general release in Oct/Nov this year. After that date it is more than likely that PCs will be shipped with Window 8 pre-installed. You will still be able to buy Windows 7 but it would be a downgrade licence. In other words you need to specify you want Windows 7 at time of purchase.

About Paul G Howes

I'm the founder of itauthority in the UK. I started this company to help small businesses make better use of the IT they purchase. Many buy tech for the wrong reasons or buy something and then realised they don't have the time to make the most of it. How many unused programs are installed on your system? So I'm all about getting the most from IT. My other interests: I love music above most other things, I'm a pilot, I'm building myself a recording studio, I'm a magician - member of the Ilford Magical Society, as well as a runner & cyclist.
This entry was posted in 2012 August Issue 4, Hardware Advice, Security (Keeping IT Safe), Software Advice, Windows 7, Windows XP and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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