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Goodbye Windows XP!

Goodbye

I loved Windows XP. Even as an avid Mac user, I have always found XP to be effective, uncomplicated and stable. Microsoft stopped selling Windows XP a while back, but kept supporting the OS.  ‘Til today that is.

What this means is that beginning tomorrow, there will be no more security updates, bug fixes or patches released for Windows XP. This will make existing installations of the OS, vulnerable for all sorts of viruses, Trojans and other security threats. Its very likely that hackers will release a torrent of stockpiled malware to exploit vulnerabilities that Microsoft will no longer patch. Its only a matter of time.

Your company’s firewall and local virus and Trojan protection software may protect you somewhat, but it will just be too risky to keep running your network connected Windows XP workstations.

Migration

If you are still using Windows XP, its time to upgrade to a newer operating system!  Migrating a single machine or an entire network requires some careful planning, scheduled downtime and a migration path. But there are enough automation tools out there to make it a painless process. Microsoft has instructions on using a free tool to migrate.

It is also important to evaluate the hardware that you currently have, as newer operating systems require more resources. As a Mac user I would add that moving to the Mac platform is also an idea worth considering 😉

Cost to Upgrade

There is also the cost aspect of buying licenses for Windows 7 or 8. Non-profits can benefit from Microsoft’s very cost effective volume licenses. In many cases, an existing volume license will already have access to Windows 7/8, so the cost might be minimal or nothing. If the hardware you are running is old, and you have been thinking of upgrading anyways, now is the best time to do it.  Since new PC’s come pre-loaded with Windows 8, upgrading may be the best option for you.

Custom Support

If there are very compelling reasons on why your organization cannot upgrade right now, its possible to get custom support from Microsoft. This will allow you to keep running Windows XP on your network and still get support (and patches) from Microsoft. There is no official price list for this option, but it’s believed to be around $200 per machine.

Compliance

For organizations dealing with the US government, running XP is simply not going to be an option, because you will be considered out of compliance if you are still running Windows XP.

To summarize – this is a call to action to plan (and do so quickly) on how to sunset your Windows XP installations. Don’t get left behind!

Post questions or comments about transitioning from XP below.

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Manav Kher

Manav Kher

The official gear-head of fusionSpan. Manav has over 14 years of enterprise software development experience. Previously he spent 7 years in various lead development and architect roles at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Notably, he contributed to the architecture and development of some of the core components of the caBIG infrastructure, for which he received the NCI caBIG Outstanding Achievement Award.

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