So what if Windows XP support is over? In short, it’s time to upgrade. After a long run, the final day of support for Windows XP was April 8, 2014.
For many, it was a good operating system that, once smoothed out from the early days, was more reliable than anything Microsoft had previously produced. One of the reasons why it stuck around so long was because its successor, Vista, had a rough transition, which made many fearful of upgrading.
So what does this really mean? Here is what you need to know:
- The security of your computer is at high risk. All the security patches Microsoft releases are done. You know, the annoying ones that make you reboot periodically. The problem is that those patches are critical to data security on your computer. When hackers find security holes in XP, Microsoft released patches to plug them. Any new holes will remain open, putting your computer at risk. Hackers will be all over trying to exploit XP, knowing that Microsoft won’t be doing anything about it.
- No more bug fixes. In addition to security patches, Microsoft also released bug fixes periodically. These fixes commonly addressed the reasons that your computer would go all blue and crash, or maybe certain software wouldn’t run. Moving forward, if there is a bug, it will not be fixed.
- Limited new software. Most new software programs that come out will not be tested on Windows XP. So that brand new version of Office, or whatever software you use, will most likely not run on XP. This could include your smart phone connectivity.
- Limited new hardware. Most new hardware will not be supported on Windows XP. This includes printers, external drives, and other external devices.
So, now you know the risks associated with owning XP effective now. Does that mean you have to upgrade? No. Does that mean everyone will upgrade today? No. What is means is that you are now at high risk and need to decide if it’s one you are willing to take. I strongly encourage you to upgrade as soon as possible.
You have options, which I’ll go into next week, but they are not black and white.
By Matt Longhouse, Co-president of Efficio, IT