Microsoft is going through some big changes as of recently. In late September 2013, C.E.O. Steve Ballmer gave a tearful goodbye speech as he announced his upcoming retirement. Surprising or not, many personal and business computers still run on Windows XP, an operating system that is over a decade old. This something I wrote about in a recent post.
Acting as the underlying foundation for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and now Windows 8, Windows XP is still compatible with most software today. While not as user friendly or up-to-date, most users find that it generally ‘just works’. Windows XP’s success has relied on Microsoft releasing regularly software updates and patches to address security and privacy vulnerabilities that virus and malware creators seek to exploit over time. With the amount of work that goes into supporting the company’s four desktop operating systems (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8) Microsoft finally announced that official support and software updates and patches will end in April 2014.
What does this mean if you are still running Windows XP? First, with the popularity of Windows XP, hackers will look for new ways to exploit computers running this operating system originally released in 2001. Microsoft will provide updates to Windows XP until April 2014, however after this date, no additional official system protection or updates will be offered. This will leave any computer running Windows XP and connected to the Internet especially vulnerable to attack, even with the latest anti-virus solutions in place. Additionally, Microsoft will no longer update drivers, which means that setting up a new printer, scanner or other peripherals, may not work as of April 2014 onwards.
Many customers and long-time of Windows XP fans might say, “But I’m fine with how things are running today”. While a fair statement, printers and devices like external hard drives or media players need to be replaced every few years. Without official driver support from Microsoft, it is unlikely that a device you purchase in the future will work on an aging Windows XP computer.
The only solution then lies in finally upgrading your computer to a newer operating system. Whether Windows 7, Windows 8 or even Apple OS X, you will benefit from new hardware that falls under warranty. This is an important factor with computers being less and less modular (ability to replace or upgrade specific parts) as they get smaller, lighter and faster with longer battery life (in the case of notebook or portable computers). Most businesses are dependent on their computers to function on a day-to-day basis, without them operations grind to a halt. This is the reason why owning hardware that is covered against failure by a warranty and an operating system that is receiving system and security updates is critically important.
The benefit of running modern hardware and software to a business is peace of mind for employees and management. A modern operating system such as Windows 7 or Windows 8 has been architected from the ground up with security and privacy in mind. Most Internet use in 2001 was via dial-up modem, offering ‘blisteringly’ slow 56.6kbps download speeds — compared to the average 7000kbps download speeds today.
Our philosophy at Manawa is to provide the best proactive and IT support along with strategic guidance to small and medium businesses. This involves solving problems before they appear and present challenges in an organization. By moving to a modern, up-to-date operating system, customers ensure their computing experience is safe, secure and fast for years to come.