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Windows XP – What to do next?

Windows XP support ends on April 8th 2013Microsoft have announced that support for Windows XP will finish by April 8th 2014.  This means that there will be an increased risk of Virus’s and other attacks.    Additionally software vendors will be less likely to create software that is compatible with Windows XP and may stop supporting their products on Windows XP.

One in four computers currently run Windows XP.

What are my options?

Your options are dependent on the following factors:

  • Specification of your current hardware
  • Compatibility of applications that you need to run with other operating systems
  •  Budget
  • Familiarity with other operating systems / devices

Time to reflect

In some ways Microsoft ending support for Windows XP will encourage businesses and individuals to re-think what they use their computers for.  It may be an opportunity to move to a simpler and cheaper device such as a tablet.  Or perhaps move to a Mac or open source software such as Linux.

Scenarios

It’s difficult to recommend a particular path without understanding a business or individuals situation completely.   The suggestions below are for a guide only:

  • Email / Web browsing  – Tablet, Use existing computer with Linux if more than 3 years old, otherwise upgrade to Windows 8.
  • Email / Web browsing / Photo Editing – Use existing computer with Linux if more than 3 years old, otherwise upgrade to Windows 8.
  • Email / Web browsing / Special Business Software – If computer older than 3 years, purchase a new computer with Windows 8, otherwise upgrade to Windows 8

It’s worth checking compatibility with any specialist software before upgrading to Windows 8.  The best way to do this is to build a virtual environment and test to ensure the software works correctly.

How to implement?

Whether you are moving one machine from Windows XP, or many machines, it’s worth writing down an action plan before you start.  Below are some suggestions on items to cover:

  • Complete backup of data including emails and any special program data that is not held within the documents area.
  • List of programs that you require setting up on the new computer.
  • Disks, licence keys, user names and passwords as appropriate.
  • Drivers required for new environment.
  • Planned time to migrate – it will probably take 3-4 hours.  Note that there is no automatic way to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8.
  • If you have many machines to migrate, a plan of which machines must go first etc.

Complex Situations

Complex situations will require detailed planning and testing prior to migration.  It will pay dividends to seek the help of an experienced IT support company to ensure that you have a trouble free migration.