Let the countdown begin, it's time to say goodbye to Microsoft XP.
Microsoft Windows XP was originally released on August 24, 2001. It was a major breakthrough after the issues many users experienced with the previous versions of Windows. Its initial release brought many changes that made drastic improvements in comparison to the previous operating system (OS) versions. A new user interface (UI) focus and improved networking were just two of the highlights of what could be viewed as the most influential version of Windows in over a decade. It was readily adopted by both consumers and businesses alike, and has remained a major segment of the global operating system market ever since.
However, on April 8, 2014, over 12 years since it was originally released, Microsoft will end their support for Windows XP. This means that Microsoft will no longer be releasing any updates for the operating system, including the ever so important security updates that help protect users and their systems from computer viruses and malware. Without these updates, any security flaws found in Windows XP will never be patched and will always leave your organization vulnerable.
In addition to Microsoft, many Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) will also discontinue their support of Windows XP. When they drop support, any compatibility issues experienced with Microsoft XP will no longer be maintained, and any new versions of existing products will most likely not work on this older, unsupported OS.
On a final note, it is important to understand that hardware drivers (the pieces of software that allow your operating system to talk to the parts of your computer) will not be written for Windows XP any longer. This means that any computers running Windows XP have the risk of not being supported by new hardware, such as the most up-to-date printers, cameras, or other peripherals.
What else is being discontinued on April 8, 2014?
Windows XP is not the only Microsoft product that will have its support terminated in April. Office 2003 and Internet Explorer 8 (IE) are both going to be discontinued at the same time. This means that just like Windows XP these products will experience a myriad of issues after the end of support date. In particular, IE8 will stop being supported by numerous websites that have already dropped support for the other outdated browser versions.
For those of you thinking of just upgrading your IE8 to a newer version I have more bad news - Windows XP is capped at IE8. There were changes made to how IE works in IE9 that make it incompatible with Windows XP. Similarly, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome both already stopped making Windows XP compatible versions and won’t be upgrade options either.
What should my association do about the end of support?
The best way to deal with the Windows XP’s end of support is also the simplest – upgrade to a newer version of Windows. There are currently two major versions of Windows that are available: Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Both of these modern operating systems offer major improvements over Windows XP in a number of areas, including UI, security, speed, and general usability, and provide a much better platform to operate your business from. When upgrading to a newer version of Windows you’ll also fix the issue of IE8 being discontinued as both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 have access to the latest versions of all browsers.
Ultimately, by upgrading to one of these two operating systems, your association will prevent all of the issues outlined above in respect to security and compatibility. Additionally, the current end of support for Windows 7 (January 14, 2020), and Windows 8.1 (January 10, 2023), is not in the immediate future, therefore ensuring that you will have the support and maintenance you need from Microsoft and other ISVs.
To read more about the Windows XP end of support, please visit the official Microsoft page.
For more information on upgrade options, please visit the Windows XP upgrade options page.