Dave Kinsey 2014-02-27 23:04:19
Rest in Peace, Windows XP Have You Moved on to Windows 7 or Windows 8? In case you haven’t heard, Windows XP’s official death is scheduled for Tuesday, April 8, 2014 (at the ripe old age of 12 ½ years old). That’s the end of Microsoft’s extended support when all updates – including critical security patches – cease. If you continue to run XP systems, you not only risk productivity of anyone using that system, you’re incurring a higher security risk to your entire office as infected systems can impact your entire network. It’s time to seriously consider retiring any remaining XP systems as soon as reasonably possible. For nearly nine years, starting in 2001, XP was the standard business operating system. Most businesses skipped over Windows Vista to Windows 7 after it was released, as Vista never quite worked correctly. For about four years, Windows 7 has been the business standard. Released a year and a half ago, Windows 8 is a viable option and is being deployed in some businesses. Windows 8 works well, but has a substantially different interface that requires training. So, are you running Windows 7 or Windows 8? Windows 8 (at the time we go to print, 8.1 is the latest release) works very well on desktop PCs and extremely well on the latest touch-screen ultrabooks. The latest ultrabooks are specifically designed for Windows 8 and run best with this operating system. In fact, the latest ultrabooks run so well on Windows 8, you may want to consider them as a potential replacement of your desktop device, not simply as a companion system. A more traditional desktop and tablet combination remains a great option as well. Personally, I use a Windows 8 convertible tablet as my only business PC. I dock it in the office and at home to connect to a second monitor, full-size keyboard and mouse. Snug and protected in a lightweight neoprene sleeve, I take it wherever I go. My Windows 8 ultrabook tablet has exceeded my expectations and I’m certain that the experience would not be nearly as good if it was running Windows 7. For desktops, it’s much more difficult to make the business case for Windows 8.1, especially if you don’t want a touch-screen monitor. A touch-screen monitor is not required for Windows 8, but Windows 8 supports touch better than Windows 7 and you may find that some operations are more natural with a touch screen. The most noticeable differences a typical desktop user would see are: (1) Windows 8 boots substantially faster than Windows 7 on identical hardware and (2) navigating the new Metro interface (central to Microsoft’s one interface for every device master strategy) is not immediately obvious and must be learned. If you have not already done so, you might want to consider performing a pilot installation of one or more Windows 8 systems in your firm to gain more familiarity with Microsoft’s new Metro interface. Metro will not likely be going away, though it will continue to be refined. A key unanswered question is when Microsoft will stop allowing Windows 7 to be bundled with new PCs. When XP was being retired, Microsoft initially announced a date when the sale of bundled XP systems would end. Due to Vista’s numerous problems, this was repeatedly delayed. The actual last day you could get a Windows XP system was more than two years from the initial announced date and one year after Windows 7 was released. Regarding Windows 7’s eventual retirement, Microsoft initially announced that October 30, 2014 would be the last day you would be able to buy a PC with Windows 7 bundled. Following relatively slow adoption of Windows 8 (particularly in businesses), Microsoft retracted this date in December and replaced it with a date of “to be determined”. Factor into the mix an unknown release date of 8.2 and rumors of an April 2015 release of Windows 9, it is difficult to determine exactly when Windows 7 will move out of mainstream business deployments. I’m confident Microsoft will eventually win over most of the people unhappy with the initial release of Windows 8. Will it happen in Windows 8.2, or will the market wait for Windows 9, which is rumored to include different versions for different types of devices? Only time will tell. Today, Windows 8.1 works very well – better than Windows 7 in many respects. I suggest you eliminate XP with all reasonable haste if you have not already done so and move to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 is a great operating system, not to be feared, rather carefully evaluated for your particular situation. If you have any specific questions or if you’d like someone to validate your approach, I’d be happy to review your situation and give you my thoughts. Have a question for the IT Expert? Email email@example.com Dave Kinsey is the owner and president of Total Networks. Total Networks is the technology partner to many law firms throughout Arizona. Services include document management, backup and disaster recovery, business communications, and general IT support (for firms with or without in-house technical staff).
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