Are you ready for the end of Windows XP support? The upcoming deadline of April 8, 2014 is not a trivial matter – please take a minute to read below to learn more. If you have any questions, we are happy to help!
The background: Windows XP was released in 2001 – 12 years go. Sales were ended in 2008, and mainstream support ended in 2009. End of extended support is April 8, 2014 – meaning there will be no more security patches.
I am a big proponent of getting the most for your investment, and I don’t make recommendations to upgrade to the latest thing just for the sake of upgrading. The end of support for XP is a serious concern for any business. The lack of fixes for security vulnerabilities will mean that your computer will be a sitting duck on the Internet. Viruses and malware will quickly spiral out of control.
Further, XP has been a hindrance to 3rd parties (think anti-virus, printer drivers, websites, etc.). I expect these companies will also end all support for XP in April or very soon thereafter. Websites will not display properly, new printers won’t work, etc. Already, the current generation of Intel processors will not run XP! All of this adds up to a headache you don’t need in your business. If your business requires some level of compliance (healthcare, banks, law firms, CPAs), you simply have no choice, and would be exposing your business to significant liability with XP.
The good news: Windows 7 is excellent. It is much more secure than Windows XP, and much more stable. It will be supported through 2020, 7 more years. A new PC today will come licensed for Windows 8, meaning you can transition down the road with no licensing cost. If you have one of the very rare applications that will not run on Windows 7, you can run “Windows XP Mode” within Windows 7 for no charge. This will allow you to use that legacy application while managing the risk within a controlled environment.
The bad news: Time is of the essence. Microsoft estimates that over 20% of users are still on XP. We are about 6 months away from the deadline, and it’s going to get significant press as we get closer. I expect this to cause issues with hardware availability and increase pricing in early 2014. Please don’t wait till March!
This is also an opportunity to review the use of technology in your business. Do you need all those desktops? Is there a place for laptops or tablets? Would fast new Solid State hard drives (SSD) save valuable time? Could Windows 8 and touch screens benefit some departments such as sales?
Lastly, I will leave you with my philosophy on hardware upgrades. I suggest replacing computers on a 4 year schedule – that lets you get the maximum ROI possible. It’s important to factor in the ongoing costs of a machine. Payroll is the largest expenditure for most of us, and it’s important to maximize the return on that investment also. If a new PC could save one employee 5 minutes per day, that’s over 21 hours of capacity per year! If that employee’s burdened cost is $25/hr, that’s over $540 per year, or if that employee generates $100/hr in income, that’s $2100 per year for 5 minutes in savings. Sometimes, hanging on to that 8 year old PC that takes 15 minutes to boot is penny wise and pound foolish.