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Windows XP out to pasture

Author: Jamie Millar
“Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will go out of support on April 8, 2014. If your organization has not started the migration to a modern desktop, you are late.”

That’s a direct quote from Microsoft. The erstwhile desktop operating system developer goes on to say: “Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment.”
Read it here:


Out to pasture

Microsoft XP to retireMicrosoft, in general, has a 10 year support plan for its operating systems. The retirement of XP has been long overdue and it could be said that it has been supported this long because it was arguably its most popular, and widely used, operating system ever.

Times are changing, though, and whether using XP on a business or personal machine, it’s time to do something about it — that ‘something’ means upgrading, whether you like it or not. There are a few reasons this is important…

11 years in technology development is a very (very) long time. In 11 years, internet browsing has changed dramatically, ways of communicating have diversified and accelerated, desktop software and systems have improved and upgraded.

If you cast your mind back to the time of XP (2003), you might also reflect on leading computing technology of the time — Palm Pilots, CD ROMs, floppy disks… Fast-forward to now, where we have multiple operating systems (iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, Mac) and smartphones, tablets and cloud computing — it's a complete technology shift.

Furthermore, from a security perspective, an unsupported operating system — especially one developed by a target as big as Microsoft — is an open mark for ‘black hat’ hackers (the bad ones — not all ‘hackers’ are bad guys). An article on Wired magazine’s shows that around 38 per cent of PCs connected to the web still use Microsoft XP (data from NetMarketShare). That means, come April 2014, it’s open season on XP machines connected to the internet.

Upgrade upsides

Since XP, Microsoft has rolled out three more operating systems — Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. It’s not unusual for users to skip one upgrade (many people are no doubt glad they missed Vista…) and move-on to the next one. But to miss three means missing out on a multitude of changes, styles and updates, many of which are subtle in a linear perspective, but arguably quite jarring if suddenly arrived-at 11 years later.

Three of the more influential shifts in personal computing, proliferating broadly in only the last couple of years, are cloud computing, mobile and web apps. The explosion of wireless internet, smartphones and tablets has changed the way people connect, communicate and browse, not to mention their expectation of immediate information gratification.

Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, has been built with these considerations and a mobile device-agnostic experience in mind, yet still maintaining a connection to the traditional desktop the company largely invented.

Here at Synergy, as a Microsoft Gold Partner, we get the chance to work with new operating systems and applications in advance of general release. Our core development team has been using Windows 8 since the first development preview, and it was rolled out across the rest of the product team late in October, along with Office 2013 and Office 365.

While there is some adjusting to do — some people love it, some people don’t, yet — it has been a positive change for most. After all, it apparently takes 100 repetitions of something to become a habit — in a day-to-day office environment, that won’t take long at all.

Don’t delay, upgrade today!

Whether home or office, if you’re on Windows XP, it’s time to upgrade. Rather than worry about losing the ‘Start’ button or what it’ll be like with Windows’ new ‘Metro’ tiles, choose the future of the device agnostic operating system and dive in to Windows 8. There'll be another Windows OS in short order, no doubt, change is inevitable.