How Windows XP End of Life Will Affect You: Your Top 6 Questions


December 4, 2013

Windows XP is nearing its end-of-life. The XP operating system was released in December 2001, and is now 12 years old. That’s 120 years old in human years. XP would have died years ago, but as of November 2013 more than 30 percent of all PCs are still running it, so Microsoft has kept it on life support. Microsoft plans to pull the plug in a few months.

1. What does this mean to me?

Support for Windows XP (and Office 2003) ends April 8, 2014. Microsoft will stop providing technical assistance for any XP system, and will no longer issue updates that help protect your XP computer, including service packs, security patches or bug fixes.

If your PC has the Windows XP operating system, this means that you will be extremely vulnerable to security threats. In the IT world, the bad guys are always ahead of the good guys. When vulnerabilities are found by hackers and criminal organizations, they are exploited quickly. Software companies like Microsoft rush to patch their systems, and companies like Symantec and GFI rush to release updates to their endpoint security products.

On April 9, 2014, Microsoft will no longer react to such exploits, and the endpoint security companies will stop updating their products as well. If you still have XP then, your computer will be a bullseye for the bad guys.

2. Will my applications still run on XP? Will they be supported?

Yes, they will still run. No, they will no longer be supported. It takes a ton of time and money to ensure that applications and hardware run on every version of Windows.

3. What should I do?

If you are a client of MyITpros and have XP machines, we have already informed you. As always, we will help you make the best choices for your situation.

If you are not one of our managed service clients, you should identify which systems you own have XP.  In almost every case we would recommend you replace your XP computer with a new machine running Windows 7 Professional.

Some organizations have critical line of business applications that will only run on XP, and it’s just not feasible for them to migrate to a new program or updated version in the next four months. There may be workaround possibilities with server virtualization and/or cloud computing, but this can only be considered a stopgap measure to buy you a few months’ time. If this is your situation, talk to us – or your IT service provider – right away.

4. Should I upgrade the OS on my old PC or buy a new PC?

There is no cost-effective way to do an in-place upgrade or rebuild of your existing PC. It is almost always more cost-effective to buy a new computer.

5. Should I move to Windows 7 or Windows 8? Can I even get Windows 7?

Unless you are a mobile user with a tablet, or touch screen capability is important to you, Windows 7 is probably your best choice. If you’ve been using XP, Windows 7 will be a much easier change for you.

You may have heard a myth claiming Windows 8 is the only operating system available on new computers. However, a quick check on Dell’s website shows that Windows 7 Professional is on Latitude laptops and Optiplex desktops.

PCs with Windows 7 installed will no longer be sold after October 30, 2014.

6. How can I save money when I migrate from Windows XP?

The sooner you act, the more likely it is you’ll save money.  If your company has had a profitable year, IRS Section 179 may afford you significant tax savings if you make your purchase and have the machines in use by December 31, 2013.  Read our blog about about Section 179.

Computer manufacturers often lower prices to help them meet or exceed their year-end targets. Buying in December could save you some money.

If you have more than a few XP machines and your budget will allow, purchase them all at once. You will probably get a much better price if you buy 20 desktops in December, versus five per month throughout the next four months.

Finally, don’t wait until the last minute, especially if you have a significant number of XP computers to replace. Everything about it will be more expensive if it’s an emergency, including the labor.

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Chris-BoyleChris Boyle, CEO

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