Microsoft ends support for Windows XP
What you should know:
Microsoft ended support for windows XP in April of 2014. What does this mean to you?
If you or your organization is still running machines with windows XP, you are not alone.
In this article, we examine what the issues are and what you can do about it to stay safe.
What are the issues?End of support means no more technical support, but it also means no more patches. Patches are changes that are made to the software to correct errors or vulnerabilities that have been discovered. Without patches, any newly discovered vulnerabilities will not be fixed, thus potentially exposing the system to hackers, viruses, and malware. Microsoft also has discontinued support for Microsoft Security Essentials on XP. This was a free anti-virus program that was supplied by Microsoft. Any machines still running that software will not be protected against current viruses or malware.
So What should I do?There are several options:
- Get a new computer. This is the most popular and best option, but sometimes this may not be feasible. It may be too expensive to replace all of the machines in an organization, or there may be older software that cannot be easily upgraded. Do keep in mind that you will also need to reinstall all of your software, and that some of the older software may not work properly with a newer operating system. This may mean having to upgrade the software as well, or having to run the software in a virtualized mode in order to maintain compatibility.
- Upgrade your existing computer. Although this might initially sound like a good idea, most of the time, this is not recommended for various reasons: The machine most likely is more than five years old and thus the newer operating systems will be sluggish or not run very well. You may have to upgrade the memory on the machine as well. You may also run into incompatibilities or lack of drivers. Keep in mind that just like with a new machine, you will still need to reinstall your software and some of your older software may not work properly or at all.
- Keep your existing system, but plan to upgrade in the future. This is the easiest option. In order to ensure that you are secure, you should get a good Anti-Virus program and use one of the alternate browsers, such as FireFox or Chrome. You should not be using Internet Explorer as it will not have any of the security patches. Keep in mind that Firefox is also not updating their software for use in some of the older machines as well.
The problem with keeping these older systems is that eventually you will have a hardware failure or be forced to upgrade your software. Replacement hardware that is able run Windows XP will become hard to find, and any new software will require a newer operating system. If the machine is not used to access the internet, and is used for a specific purpose, then it should be fine to keep using it. In either case, we strongly recommend that you plan and budget to upgrade your old systems eventually, even if it means virtualizing the current operations as is on newer hardware. This will ensure business continuity even if the hardware fails.