Windows XP end of life – What does it mean?

Microsoft has announced that April of 2014 is the cutoff date for Microsoft’s support of the Windows XP Operating System. What does this mean for you? The most important point to stress is that your computers WILL continue to operate.

As of October 2010, Microsoft discontinued sales of the XP Operating System. Since then, one cannot buy a computer with that Operating System. Microsoft has continued to release patches and updates for the XP OS, and as of this writing, is continuing to do so until April of 2014. It is these patches and updates, or rather the lack of, that pose the first problem.

As malware programmers continue to pursue us, Microsoft makes every effort to prevent these miscreants from harming us. These efforts are released as updates and patches every Tuesday and if your system is set up correctly, they are downloaded and installed automatically, generally without you even noticing. Many of these patches replace existing system files that may have become corrupt over time and with the replacement, keep your computer running trouble-free. In April of 2014, they stop.

The next problem will be the lack of applications and drivers for Windows XP. Manufacturers of printers, as an example, peripheral manufacturerers no longer make drivers for Windows XP. So as we continue to add new equipment or replace older equipment, it is likely that the newer equipment will not work with Windows XP. Application developers will no longer develop Windows XP compatible programs. Quickbooks, Quicken, Microsoft Office are examples of such; after a certain date, as yet unknown, we’ll not be able to install these programs on a Windows XP machine.

Now is the time we should look into what Operating System we’ll need to replace the outgoing Windows XP Operating System. Windows 7 and Windows 8 are the current viable Microsoft Operating Systems. Which one is right for you? That depends on many factors including the hardware, software, and peripherals you have installed. These newer Operating Systems can require significant horsepower and memory. Your existing computers may or may not be enough. The only way to know for certain is to assess your current systems and make a determination after the assessment.

Please call if you’d like me to help.

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