Microsoft’s Windows XP was perhaps the most revolutionary and acclaimed computer operating system of the last 15 years. XP quickly became the industry standard for business computers, and PC users became very accustomed to how it works.
With the reputation that its successor, Windows Vista, acquired shortly after its release in 2007, many users decided to continue using the familiar Windows XP instead of upgrading. Many of these same users also decided to hold off on upgrading to Windows 7 after it was released in 2009, and continued to avoid upgrading after the 2012 release of Windows 8. Throughout this time, Microsoft has continued to offer updates and support for Windows XP, but have announced that this support will finally end as of April 8, 2014. As this date draws closer, it is strongly recommended that users consider upgrading.
So, what does a lack of support from Microsoft really mean for Windows XP users? In addition to a lack of troubleshooting help from Microsoft, 0/S updates will no longer be available for Windows XP. Many updates that Microsoft releases are patches intended to repair specific security problems. The longer a system goes without updates, the more vulnerable it becomes to malware, spyware and hacking, which can potentially lead to problems with data security and/or data loss. In addition to security issues, users may start to experience compatibility issues, as manufacturers of software, printers, etc. will no longer support XP. Many software and hardware manufacturers have already stopped supporting compatibility with XP systems.
Once you have decided to replace your Windows XP PC, your first step should be to check in with your IT consultant. It is extremely important to verify the compatibility of your software and hardware with the new PC that you plan to purchase. The programs and hardware that you are currently using can drastically affect the type of PC that you will need to purchase. In addition to checking the compatibility of software and drivers with your new operating system, the daily tasks that you execute on your PC should be considered in determining the processor, amount of memory, video card, and other components that you select for your new PC.
Today, almost all new computers are manufactured with Windows 8, but Windows 7 machines are still available from some manufacturers. Your first inclination may be to purchase a Windows 8 PC, as it is the “latest and greatest” operating system. While it is a quality operating system, it can take some time for software and hardware manufacturers to catch up with operating system requirements, so the possibility of compatibility issues with your software and hardware still exists.
Thorough research and calls to vendors may be required to make sure that everything will work as expected when upgrading your PC. If we find that there are Windows 8-compatibility issues with some of your software or hardware, Windows 7 computers are still available to order through M&H Consulting. The final Microsoft cut-off date for Windows 7 availability is October 2014. If you need to replace a computer and have questions, feel free to give us a call at 1-866-9MH-tech or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to help you determine your needs for your next PC and assist you in its configuration.