When our computer support technicians service computers here in Bozeman and other Montana cities, you would be surprised at how many computers are still running Windows XP. At the moment, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but as old technology goes out and is not supported, new technology replaces it that is, hopefully, faster, more reliable and more secure.

Are any of your computers still running Windows XP?
Windows XP was a great operating system. When it was released 11 years ago, in 2001, it was highly compatible, greatly supported by Microsoft and ran well. In January 2007, Windows XP had 76.1% market share. Later Microsoft released Windows Vista which turned out to be a not so good operating system and, not seeing many benefits, most businesses did not upgrade. Since then Microsoft has also released Windows 7, which works very well, and Windows 8, the latest of the Windows series operating systems. Because so many businesses are still using Windows XP SP3, Microsoft decided to extend the operating systems end-of-life support date to April 8, 2014 from the original date of April 14, 2012.

What does this end-of-life support mean to you?
When the end-of-life date, April 8, 2014, arrives Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. This means, no more bug fixes and no more security patches. Even before this end-of-life date Microsoft will be winding down the amount of updates they release. At some point this will allow hackers an easier time as well. This typically also means that if you are still running any software on Windows XP, such as Office or QuickBooks, the software vendor will also no longer support you with any problems you are having.

So What Do I Do?
Even though the end-of-life has not come quite yet for Windows XP, now would be a good time to start planning. Start making an inventory of any Windows XP computers you have and start giving a budget to either get these computers upgraded to Windows 7, if they are compatible with it, or replacing them with a new computer altogether. This would also be a good time to get your computer support technician or managed IT service provider involved. A good computer technician can first check to see what you are using the computer for and check the computer’s current specifications. If the computer is only used minimally for basic tasks, the computer technician can see if the computer is compatible with Windows 7. If it is then upgrading the computer may be the best way to go. The other side of the coin may be to simply buy a new computer with Windows 7 to migrate the older computer to.

If your computer is compatible with Windows 7 and can be upgraded, you may want to look at having an SSD hard drive installed to help bring new life into the old computer. This cheap computer upgrade to an SSD hard drive can bring much faster speeds.

If you need help or have any questions about Windows XP’s end-of-life or upgrading a computer, please call us at 406-414-0532 and one of our computer support technicians would be glad to assist you. You can also learn more about our managed IT services and how we can monitor your network and fix  problems before becomming major issues.