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Windows XP: The End is Near!

After an amazing twelve year run, Windows XP will be officially retired by Microsoft. Customer support for the operating system will cease on April 8, 2014. What this means is that Windows XP will no longer receive updates or technical support, all but forcing users to update to a modern operating system. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as both Windows 7 and 8 contain a wealth of new features that’ll make you quickly forget about its ancestor.

Regarding the transition from Windows XP (or any old version of the operating system) to a modern iteration, Microsoft has all bases covered. Microsoft is willing to guide Big corporations through large scale training sessions and installations, helping to ease the burden of making such a large change at once. Smaller businesses and mid-sized organizations may not need as much help transitioning, but various solutions are offered for their consideration as well.

Of course, at their own risk someone could decide to continue using Microsoft Windows XP. The multitude of hazards includes security, a lack of software or hardware support, and even a failure to comply with certain technological obligations. Because Windows XP will no longer be receiving security updates, those who create viruses will have an easier time attacking that specific operating system. This is because the level of protection remains static, allowing wrongdoers an infinite amount of time to develop an exploit.

It remains to be seen, but businesses regulated by agreements such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) may find that such an outdated operating system no longer fulfills certain technological obligations. There are required levels of security for a machine to be compliant with certain technological standards. A machine that is no longer receiving updates to combat ever-evolving security threats will have a hard time maintaining the standard level of security.

Another hazard is that those staying with Windows XP will face is the lack of support from software manufacturers. Business is all about supply and demand, and it’s a bad business decision to spend extra money to meet an unprofitable demand. Software manufacturers will not dedicate extra resources to make their product compatible with an outdated platform that few people use. A good example of this can be seen from Microsoft themselves: The latest Microsoft Office does not run on Windows XP.

The last hazard of note is the lack of support from hardware manufacturers. Going forward, it’s once again a bad business decision to allocate extra resources to an unprofitable demand. Many hardware manufacturers will stop coding support for Windows XP into their products. This makes it harder to replace current parts, and also means that it may be difficult to upgrade to new parts. It can still be done, but it’s a larger hassle.

There are a lot of questions regarding this new development. For those wondering: Yes, Windows XP can still be installed and activated after April 8, 2014. Nothing is being removed or cancelled, except the support from Microsoft for the product. If you have Windows XP, it will still work fine. For those hoping to cash in on a free (albeit older) Microsoft operating system, installations will still require activations. Regarding the Windows XP Mode feature in Windows 7, it can still be used after support ends, but Microsoft will no longer be able to help you with any technical issues.

Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (known as MED-V), Microsoft Security Essentials for XP, and other software associated with XP will see an end to extended support on April 8, 2014. Those who use Internet Explorer 8 may see a halt in support as IE follows the support lifecycle of the Windows operating system on which it was installed. It’s a tricky situation, but competitors like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome will have your surfing needs covered.

The end of Windows XP being so pronounced can be sad for many of us who have been around since its inception. This is a time to reflect upon the continued development of such a powerful operating system, and look forward to what’s to come. Microsoft Windows can be acquired cheaply, and the productivity of the software seems to take a giant leap with every update.

Concerned about the Windows XP deadline? Contact CMIT Solutions to help you and your business make the transistion!

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