January 16, 2014 en_US https://quickbooks.intuit.com/cas/dam/IMAGE/A14osRvqZ/213830832453bc48699370f5b2ca8203.png https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/tech-review/still-using-windows-xp-its-time-to-upgrade-your-operating-system Still Using Windows XP? It’s Time to Upgrade Your Operating System

Still Using Windows XP? It’s Time to Upgrade Your Operating System

By Kathryn Hawkins January 16, 2014

Are you still using the Windows XP operating system to run your office PCs? Although the Microsoft OS dates back to 2001, it’s still widely used: According to NetMarketShare’s December 2013 update, close to 30 percent of Americans with personal computers still use the platform. If you’re among them, it’s finally time to upgrade.

On April 8, Microsoft plans to retire the Windows XP platform. What does that mean for you?

  • Your computers will be far more susceptible to viruses. If you or your employees continue to use the Windows XP platform, your systems will become much more susceptible to viruses and malware as time goes on. That’s because Microsoft will no longer provide security patches, as it has in the past. After the company stopped supporting security upgrades for the Windows XP Service Pack 2, its malware infection rate increased to 66 percent higher than the supported version, XP Service Pack 3.

  • You won’t have access to customer support. You may be used to calling Microsoft when you experience trouble with Windows XP. After the retirement deadline, you’ll be on your own, which may result in you having to pay an expensive third-party IT expert to help you with OS-related issues. If you want custom support from Microsoft, you may be able to get it—but it will come at a price tag of up to $5 million per year.

  • Increasingly, you will run into compatibility issues with new software and peripherals. When the XP platform loses support from its manufacturer, software and equipment vendors are not likely to bother ensuring that their technology works on the XP operating system, predicts IT consultant Heinan Landa. Many anti-virus software vendors have already stopped supporting the platform, creating even greater security risks.

The solution: Upgrade your operating system.

Microsoft’s current OS, Windows 8.1, includes many features and security upgrades not available in Windows XP. If you plan to upgrade to Windows 8.1, Microsoft employee Michael Niehaus offers some tips on managing the migration with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013.

You could also consider switching to Apple’s Mac platform or, if your computing needs are relatively minimal, to Google’s Chromebook.

Note that you may need to purchase hardware and software that’s compatible with your new OS, so make sure to factor those costs into your expense budget.

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Kathryn Hawkins is a writer with a passion for solving small business problems. Read more