Windows XP End of Support: Are YOU ready?

Senior Technology Business Engineer, Joel

Written by:
Joel Caskey
Technology Business Engineer
NET Xperts LLC


October 25, 2001 marked a historic date in the history of the PC world. It was the official release date for the Microsoft Windows XP Operating System. Since then, many changes have evolved from this operating system, but Microsoft Windows XP has always met the challenges and needs of both business and consumers, no matter what was thrown at it. Think about how long ago that was – almost 12 years ago! To this very day, many business and consumers trust Windows XP to assist them with running their Line-of-Business Applications and increase productivity in their organizations.

As with anything else, though, one door closes and another one opens. Recently, Microsoft has released that Windows XP has finally earned that vacation home on the Software Retirement island. Microsoft has officially stated that Microsoft Windows XP will no longer be supported as of April 8, 2014. This marks the end of a stable operating system that has grown up with us and our children for over 12 years.

Now, does this mean that on April 8, 2014 any computer running Windows XP just stops working? Absolutely not. This simply means that Microsoft will no longer release security patches or offer support assistance for Windows XP, which could potentially make them vulnerable to attacks. Along with the anticipation of this date, however, other software vendors may also drop their support for Windows XP sooner than April 8, 2014. This simply means that newer versions of software (line-of-business or otherwise) may not be supported or work with Windows XP.

At this point, the time has come to transition to newer operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows 7 or Microsoft Windows 8. You may be thinking, “Oh that’s no problem, I’ll just upgrade to new PCs when the time comes. That’ll work, right?” And for some of you, that may be true. There are, however, a few items that you should consider NOW rather than later to insure a smooth transition to the newer technologies from both a cost standpoint and a usability standpoint:

1. Will my applications run on newer operating systems such as Windows 7 or Windows 8?

As a general rule of thumb, you should ALWAYS check with the software vendor to make sure that your applications will run on newer operating systems. Here’s a helpful hint though: If you haven’t done any updates for your line-of-business or other applications in the last 2 years, you should definitely consider doing that prior to planning a major upgrade to a new operating system. Software packages to look at would include accounting packages, antivirus applications, backup solutions, CRM Packages, and any other line-of-business application.
2. Will my printers work with a new computer or new operating system?

There are a couple of things to look at here:

i. First of all, you should look at the connection that the printer uses to connect to your computer. If it is a “Parallel port” connection, it’s probably fairly old. In other words, if the computer end of the cable is long and flat and has screws on either side to screw into the computer, you should probably consider a new printer.
ii. Secondly, if you are using either a USB printer or a network printer, you should definitely check the manufacturer’s website to see if it’s compatible with a newer operating system such as Windows 7 or Windows 8. Depending on the age of the printer (even if it seems newer), the manufacturer may or may not have put the effort into making sure that the printer will continue to last to newer technologies.
3. Is there anything else that I need to consider to transition into making this jump?

As with anything else, there may be some special cases that you may need to consider, such as other older peripheral devices that may connect to your workstations or servers. The BEST thing to do is to contact your IT department or IT vendor, such as NET Xperts, for assistance. They are trained professionals that know what to look for in your environment to make sure that your transition to newer equipment and technology is a smooth one!

So even though April 8, 2014 seems to still be ample time away, the time to start considering these items is now! The sooner the transition is planned and started, the easier it will be on your budget and yourself. Don’t hesitate to contact your Technology Business Consultant here at NET Xperts for assistance in planning your transition!


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