“Hear ye, hear ye,” the Windows town crier is saying. “It’s 11 o’clock for Windows XP, and if you haven’t upgraded or made your upgrade plans, all is NOT well.” The town crier will come in the form of pop-up messages, starting today, that can lead to either a bad solution of operating-system issues or a breach of your security. If you want to eliminate annoying pop-ups and their consequences, you need to replace your XP OS with a new one that will meet your needs and avoid the ultimate pop-up problem.
Security of your data – and likely your identity – will be your biggest problem if you remain on XP. As soon as Microsoft stops issuing security updates, hackers will swing into action. They will have had a month to crack the last security patches, and they have all the time you give them to further their exploitation of your vulnerabilities. Their clock will stop ticking when you stop using XP.
In the meantime, the ticking – in the form of pop-ups – could drive you batty and lead to a security breach before the end of XP’s support. The pop-ups from Microsoft will direct you to the company’s web pages for Windows 8, which we believe is not good for businesses. Your annoyance level is sure to increase, but the worst consequences will come after you let your guard down and click on any of the many hacker redirects that are sure to come.
We all click on pop-ups at some point without really knowing to where they are redirecting us. In essence, these links are no different than bank and credit-card scam links that try to get you to enter sensitive information. Once a scammer has you unknowingly at their website, they likely will be in your network – with access to all the information stored on computer drives and servers.
If you move away from Windows XP ASAP, you’ll have no more pop-ups and one fewer set of security worries.
In addition to the annoying pop-ups and security vulnerabilities with XP, you’re going to lose operating efficiency. The newer operating systems are suited for the newest programs you use for business and home. As Microsoft ends XP support, it ends support for Office 2003. But if you try to use Office 2003 with a newer operating system, you’ll find it just doesn’t have the same capabilities. Any perceived savings from not investing in OS and software upgrades will be quickly eaten up by operating inefficiencies.
One more note, this one on timing. You need to allow time for ordering and taking delivery of computers with a Windows 7 OS. You cannot buy them off the shelf at your favorite retailer. Major manufacturers may have some computers in stock, but a late rush could wipe out their inventories, pushing delivery back considerably – even with expedited shipping – and leaving you exposed. You could buy new computers with Windows 8 installed, but businesses will not be happy. The OS’s totally different look and feel will bog down operations.
So, if you haven’t done anything yet, we advise to contact us right away (phone: 973-433-6676 email: [email protected]) to set up a plan and a schedule to move from XP. Here are some options, in order of preference:
Replace Your Computers with Windows 7 Machines
We can get them, and we can get them in quantities from 1 to 10. We can best help you by not only determining how many computers you need but what you will need each one to do. Some users in an office will require more computing capability, meaning faster, more expensive machines. We can help you get a computer that matches each user’s needs and avoid overpaying.
Replace Your Software – or Phase in What You Can’t’ Do Now
While it would be preferable to get all new software to take advantage of more speed and capability, you may need to phase in transitions. We can analyze your new computers and the capabilities of your current software to determine which programs should be upgraded first. This will give you the opportunity to perform your most critical tasks with the most up-to-date systems and minimize the consequences of having to take fast action in less-than-ideal conditions.
Business and home users can lower their out-of-pocket expenses or manage cash flow better by subscribing to Office 365. Microsoft offers a number of plans, but basically, you get a subscription that includes a number of licenses that cover computers and devices. We discussed this in detail last month, and we’ll be happy to review your options with you.
Switch to Mac
We would only recommend this for home users and some SOHO businesses with one or two users. While we love Macs – and fully support them, there are a couple of major issues. First, most of the robust programs for business applications are written for Windows-based computers. In many cases, Windows versions are better when you have programs that run on both platforms. Second, you will need to train everyone in your office on the Mac, and that could present the same issues as switching to Windows 8.
Ideally, you should replace all of your XP computers and business software at the same time, but in the real world, we know it’s not possible for everyone. However you choose to approach the end of XP, contact us right away to help you (phone: 973-433-6676 email: [email protected]). The clock is ticking, but it’s more like a time bomb that is going to go “boom” very soon.
This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.