By Jen Sweeney
April 8 is creeping up fast. That’s the day Microsoft support for Windows XP ends. In particular:
- Microsoft will no longer offer new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates for Windows XP. The possibility of undetected security vulnerabilities will increase, making your unpatched system very vulnerable to security risks.
- Most independent software vendors will also stop supporting the operating system.
If your company is still using XP, stop biting your nails for a moment. You still have options:
- Do nothing for now. This is not a good idea. Updated versions of Windows and Office include cloud and virtualization capabilities, plus many more improvements designed to maximize worker productivity. If you or your employees prefer XP because it’s familiar or the perceived cost is less, you will fall behind on these new capabilities.
- Pick a version — Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 — and solidify a migration plan. Your decision to upgrade from Office 2003 is made when you choose to refresh your operating system. Several factors drive co-deployment of new versions of Windows and Office. One is that both are sometimes provided as part of the lease on hardware, which limits options to not only what is still in support, but to what is currently available for sales. Another is that it costs money every time a box is touched. Combining rollouts saves IT costs over rolling them out separately.
The decision to go with 7 or 8.1 depends on your company’s needs. In a 2013 webcast, Vitalyst director of recruiting and training Joe Puckett explained that Windows 8 is inherently more secure than any previous version, and that compatibility issues are roughly equivalent for 7 and 8. (Click here to view the webcast. He speaks about XP’s expiration around the 16:33 mark.) No matter which version you choose, the learning curve is unavoidable. A well-planned and executed training program can address the common needs, but individual end-user needs require additional support. (Scroll to the end of this post for Windows XP and migration resources.)
Windows XP may be bidding adieu, but the PC is not. Headlines and hype may tell a different story, but when you look beyond the snippets and into the data, you get a deeper understanding of what is going on in enterprise computing.
In a recent article for How-To Geek, writer Chris Hoffman digs into that data and presents his take on the PC’s future.
Although recent reports from Gartner show PC sales continuing to decline, the company notes in the report that it believes the decline is “bottoming out.”
“While PC sales are dropping, it’s hardly a market in free fall,” Hoffman writes.
He also believes that the focus should not be on the sales figures but instead on the usage stats. He cites StatCounter’s browser usage data for January 2014: Desktop browsers accounted for just under 72 percent of visits, mobile browsers accounted for about 22 percent, and tablets just under 6 percent. It’s a different story, indeed.
Read Hoffman’s complete article here: “Are PCs Dying? Of Course Not, Here’s Why.”