Windows XP, the end of an era. How should I upgrade?

Apr 08, 2014 - by Ian Hasell

They say all good things must come to an end. And so, as of today, Microsoft will no longer support its most popular ever operating system Windows XP. The long-serving and reliable OS which was released in 2001 and received three service packs will no longer receive updates or patches. The same applies to Microsoft Office 2003 products.

What does this mean for me?

If you still use Windows XP then you need to be aware that Microsoft will no longer release updates or patches to fix security vulnerabilities. Assuming that hackers discover holes in the security of the system, you are at risk. The holes will not be closed, the vulnerabilities in the system will not be repaired resulting in the possibility that your personal data could be at risk. Therefore it's important to recognise the potential risk and decide whether or not you should upgrade your operating system. The reality is, you should upgrade.

What are my upgrade options?

1. Use the same hardware and upgrade the operating system to Windows 7

There are several options to you. In most cases it's possible to upgrade to Windows 7 using the same hardware and it will run just as comfortably as Windows XP. Windows 7 retains a familiar look and feel to XP, making the transition easier for less confident users. For home users the upgrade software itself costs in the region of £75 + vat, and for business users (for the Pro version) an upgrade costs in the region of £110 + vat. It is important to understand that it is not possible to run an upgrade straight from Windows XP to Windows 7. In other words, the upgrade is a new installation - meaning that your programs, files and settings are not preserved so they must be backed up onto another device first and reinstated later. If you're not confident about doing this, speak to someone who knows what they're doing. Don't risk overwriting your data - always make sure your important stuff is backed up!

2. Upgrade your computer

How old is your computer? If it still runs Windows XP it might well be the case that you have had your computer for quite a long time. Remember, computer hardware will eventually fail and cause you problems so now might be the time to bite the bullet and replace your old computer for a new one. Computer prices have reduced significantly over the past decade. Spending out on a Windows upgrade alone might not be best use of your budget. What if the hardware were to suddenly fail not long after you upgraded Windows? You would end up paying out again to have the computer repaired or replaced. Consider - is it better to buy a replacement computer which comes with the latest version of Windows pre-installed? A new PC will be much faster than your old one, saving you time as you work, and it will also include a new manufacturer’s warranty. Bear in mind that the newest operating system to ship with new computers is Windows 8, which works best on touch screen devices. Be sure to check if your devices (printers, etc) are compatible first. Speak to us if you need any assistance.

3. Consider alternatives to Windows

Would a tablet suit your needs? For users who mainly use their computer to consume information (web browsing, watching videos, looking at photos and dealing with emails) iOS or Android tablet devices offer a huge range of apps and enough computing power to do just about everything they need, whilst being easy to use and saving money on hardware/software. Perhaps a Mac running OS X might suit you better - most major software vendors develop their software to work on OS X as well as Windows. However, check your devices first to see if they are compatible/if software drivers are available.

If you’re not sure what you should do but need to upgrade, do give us a call and we will be happy to help.


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