Microsoft officially stopped supporting Windows XP. Is Your Business Ready?
On April 8th, 2014, Microsoft ended a 12-year legacy by discontinuing support for the popular operating system Windows XP. The reasoning behind the change, proffered by Microsoft on behalf of themselves, as well as their hardware and software partners, is the reallocation of resources towards more recent technologies so that they can “continue to deliver great new experiences.”
Don’t panic. Windows XP has and will continue to work as planned, but there are a number of changes individuals, small businesses, and even major corporations must contend with to maintain the safety of their data and functionality of their devices.
What Will no Longer be Available to XP Users?
The most notable changes for Windows XP users include:
- No additional security updates or technical support.
- End of support for Internet Explorer 8.
- Software & hardware manufacturers optimizing exclusively for newer versions of Windows.
Risks & Consequences of Failing to Adapt
The security risks and consequences for the remaining Windows XP users associated with the aforementioned changes are:
- Your computer will be increasingly susceptible to security risks and viruses. Even anti-virus software cannot protect you now that XP is no longer supported.
- A lack of vital security updates will leave your PC vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information or company data.
- An increasing number of apps and devices will not be compatible with Windows XP.
- Many software vendors will no longer support their products running on XP because they can no longer receive Windows XP updates, i.e. the new Microsoft Office.
What You Can Do
Microsoft has proposed two solutions to handle the change and welcome the inevitability of Windows XP’s total eradication—which will take some time. If you haven’t already, here are two ways to stay protected:
- If possible, upgrade your current PC to Windows 8.1. Very few old computers can run the latest version of Windows. To find out if your PC meets the system requirements, run the Windows Upgrade Assistant. If you’re already running Windows 8.0, you can download a free update of 8.1 without a problem. The Brash Concepts team will walk you through the process, ensuring a seamless, stress-free upgrade.
- Buy a new computer! But this is not a feasible investment for many businesses and individuals. Nevertheless, Microsoft argues that not only are their computers more powerful, lightweight, and stylish than ever before, but they’re also less expensive on average than they were during the hay-day of Windows XP. When considering a hardware update, many users are concerned about safely transitioning their data from an old device. If this is a concern for you, as an individual or business owner, Brash Concepts’ cloud-based Business Continuity and expert support staff will make the transition simple, and most importantly, secure.
These options seem relatively limiting, but arguably, the investment is worthwhile given the security, data protection, and overall functionality of Windows 8.1 and beyond. If you’re still running your life or your business with Windows XP, you are alone. On the day Microsoft stopped supporting their faithful old operating system, 30% of Windows users worldwide still used XP (and that number is probably decreasing rather slowly).
If you take one thing away from this summary, remember that without security updates and support for XP, your computer and your network will deteriorate over time. If you want to find out the latest news from Microsoft about updating, securing, or purchasing a new computer, Brash Concepts’ team of IT and Network experts can help.