Microsoft Ends Support for Windows XP in 2014

As the development of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 continues, Microsoft announced that they will be ending all support for Windows XP and Office 2003 in the first half of 2014. This means that every computer running on this operating system version needs to migrate to more recent Windows versions like Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

Users who would refuse to upgrade and migrate their files to a newer Windows version will still be able to use their Windows XP computer but the risk of getting infected by viruses or their files being corrupted is high since all security patches and updates would stop on April 8, 2014. Not only that, all technical support would cease after the said date.

What about the big businesses who have all their processes anchored to Windows XP? Well, Microsoft has alerted everyone ahead in July 2011 especially the businesses making use of Windows XP that the time it would take for a full migration of data on legions of computers would be around 18-32 weeks, around 4-8 months depending on the type of data that needs to be transferred.

For smaller business or computers used in the office, you might just spend the weekend copying your files into an external drive and transferring it to a new machine running on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. This move by Microsoft seems to look like a promotion of the more recent versions, Windows 7 and Windows 8 and further narrowing down their software products to effectively improve productivity and of course save costs in maintaining the business.

What Happens When Support for Your Operating System Ends

The end of support would put your data and other files at risk. Though the end of all forms of support for Windows XP doesn’t mean it would stop working after the set date, it is still important that you upgrade to the recommended versions so you and your business can stay protected and receive security updates, patches, free or paid technical support and other important stuff that you need to get everything in a stable condition. Another important thing that will cease when support for Windows XP ends are updates for drivers which ensure that your computer and all its features and functionalities are always on the top performance.

Support is Ending, What Should You Do?

If you own a business and you’re still using Windows XP on your computers then you need to purchase new computers running on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 since the old ones containing all your business files and programs might have hardware components that can’t accommodate the newer Windows versions. You also need to secure a list of all the important programs that are installed on the computers. If the programs are important in running your business then the best version that you can upgrade to is Windows 7 (since most programs compatible to Windows XP are also compatible to Windows 7).

If your Windows XP computer was bought between 2008-2011 then chances are it would still be able to run Windows 7 with just a little upgrade with the hardware components so the best option available for you is to upgrade or do a clean install but before the upgrade process, be sure to save a backup of all your files in an external hard drive and prepare all the installers and setup files of all the important programs that you have. Once these things are ready, you can now start installing the new operating system and once it is done, the files you saved on the external hard drive can now be copied and all important programs can also be installed.

If you choose to upgrade to Windows 8.1 then you also need to transfer all your files to an external hard drive but instead of just preparing a list of all the important programs which are installed on your computer, you also need to check if each one of them has a version that can run on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. If the software is extremely important to you and your business but it still doesn’t have a version compatible to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 then you might just choose to use Windows 7 instead.

In other cases, a program might not be able to run on either operating system versions. If this happens, running it in a sandbox or a virtual environment is possible. Even Windows XP itself (or the whole operating system) can be run using this technique but of course, it would take an expert to do this so the cost of migration would add up higher.

Weigh Up Your Choices

Almost all of the choices available for migrating to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 really entail cost but choosing not to do so would also mean a very big loss if you own a large business that depends on computers running Windows XP. Start planning now before it gets late. The support deadline is coming closer. You surely don’t want to put all your files and customer data at risk so make a wise choice now and spare yourself from a sure disaster. You might also want to consider seeking help from Microsoft for your data migration needs. If so, just visit their site and find some options of how you can start migrating all your data to your new set of computers running on Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.