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Its been around forever or so it feels. Microsoft XP debuted in August of 2001. Now almost 13 years later, Microsoft is pulling the pin on its most prolific operating system of all time. As of April 9th, 2014, Microsoft will no longer be supporting Windows XP.

What does not supported mean?

As of that date, Microsoft will no longer be creating security patches for XP. So IF someone were to find an exploit in XP after that date that takes advantage of some poorly written code, Microsoft would not create a patch to cover up that hole. Meaning that security wise, you may be vulnerable after April 9th, 2014 if you continue to run Windows XP.

How else does this impact me? Microsoft Security Essentials, which is Microsoft’s answer to “Free Antivirus Software” for the masses, will also no longer be supported on Windows XP as of April 9th, 2014. No more updates for THAT product either. However, if you are one of many people still using Microsoft’s Security Essentials to ward off viruses, you might want to think twice about that choice. According to AV-Test, a leading Independent test center for Antivirus software, Microsoft’s AV products were so bad in last year’s 2013 tests, that they basically scored ZERO out of 10. Ouch!

What other  software is affected?

Ditto goes for Office 2003 software. No more security or enhancement patches for that version of Microsoft’s Office software.

Countdown to the End

What else? Most 3rd party software companies, like QuickBooks and Sage have also stated that while their latest products will work on XP, they won’t be supporting ANY versions of their software on XP, past April 9th, 2014. Why would they? This way, they get to save $$ on NOT having to keep people around solving issues on a 13 year old operating system. Their engineers can focus their efforts on helping people working in Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Bye bye XP support!

What am I to do?

You have a few choices.

  1. Upgrade your operating system. You can simply decide to replace your XP operating system with a Retail copy of Windows 8.1. You can’t directly upgrade to Windows 8.1 from XP – you’ll have to upgrade to Windows 8 first, and then upgrade to Windows 8.1 (which is free). Microsoft is making it relatively easy. On their web store, you can purchase the “home” version of Windows 8 for $119.99 and the Professional version for $199.99. However, Windows 8.1 comes with the following requirements:
    • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
    • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32 bit) or 2 GB (64 bit)
    • Free hard drive space: 16 GB (32 bit) or 20 GB (64 bit)
    • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

    Plus one caveat. If you’re also running Office 2003, you now have to shell out an additional $249 for Office Home & Business 2013.

  2. Get a new system. Its a good chance, that IF you’re still running XP, that your comptuer is well past its prime. You could upgrade the operating system, only to have the hard drive or the motherboard die on you in a month. Only to find out that the computer’s warranty expired last year. A new desktop system will run you anywhere from $800 to $1200, depending on your options, with laptops in that same range. That way, you’ll get the latest operating system (Windows 8.1), a 3 year on site warranty (for those of you that don’t want the hassle of leaving their PC at the local computer shop for 3 days while they try to find out what’s wrong with it) and the latest in Office suite software (Office 2013).Think about this for a sec. Window 8 Pro – $249. Office 2013 – $249. So for $300 – $700 more, you get a brand new computer with a 3 year onsite warranty. This is what Seerx is recommending to the majority of its clients.
  3. Do nothing. Some people will opt for this last choice, believe it or not. In fact, most of the anti-virus software companies out there, have actually taken the opposite tack, to what accounting program companies are doing. These AV companies WILL continue supporting Windows XP users that will be slowly migrating to a more recent version of Windows. BitDefender, the antivirus program that Seerx is promoting, in fact will be extending its support of Windows XP for an additional 32 months. Meaning thatwhile Microsoft may be abandoning all those XP users, the Antivirus community is not.And to be honest, any program that is currently working on XP, will continue to do so past April 9th, 2014. You’ll simply NOT be able to update those programs (unless they are antivirus programs) as most OTHER 3rd party software companies will have swore off XP. So if you can live with 3rd party software programs that will no longer be getting updates, option #3. Do Nothing, may be a viable alternative.

    Call your service provider to help you with this one. Or call Seerx. We’ve been upgrading and installing new operating systems and computers for over 13 years. We’d love to help you stay current and stay up, all the time.

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