There is an old saying; “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Unfortunately in the modern business world of rapidly developing technologies and the ever present drive for operational efficiency and cost reductions this saying is rapidly becoming out of date and relegated to the “in my day we didn’t need any fancy gizmos ” brigade.
That fact is, whether you are in the services industry or a FMCG manufacturing industry, you cannot sit back and ignore the fact that the investment in your business IT systems has never been more important than it is today.
Let us take the question; should I upgrade my Microsoft Windows XP client operating system? Answer; YEEESSSSS you should!!!!
Ok, now we have established that – why? Well there are many reasons, some of which I will explain below.
Microsoft support for Windows XP is due to end in April 2014.
With the end of life of any operating system this means technical assistance will no longer be available along with automatic updates. Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates to protect your PC. This does not mean that you PC will not work after this date but it does mean that there will be no more security patches or hot fixes available to download and protect your computer, which ultimately means you will be vulnerable to security risks and viruses.
Software and hardware manufacturers tend to concentrate on developing their products for the most recent and ‘still in support’ operating systems. As a result you may find that some of the newer hardware and devices are no longer compatible with your operating system and an upgrade is forced upon you.
The advantage of upgrading your operating systems while your current operating system is still supported by Microsoft is the fact that there will already have been a tried and tested upgrade path available from Microsoft, along with technical support from them if required.
If you soldier on with your current operating system for years after official support has lapsed than you may find yourself being in the position that an upgrade is forced on you due to the fact your hardware has failed and there are no drivers for your new hardware. It may then be the case that there is no direct upgrade path from your current operating system to the currently supported operating system, forcing you into a long and complex migration that is costly to your business, not only in terms of licensing and lost production costs, but also in the reliability of your systems and infrastructure.
In a large corporate environment upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8 is no mean feat and detailed planning is essential. Not only do you have to upgrade the actual operating system but the hardware has to be checked for compatibility, your applications have to be checked and fully tested on the new operating system, if you are running in a Microsoft active directory environment then your group policies will need checking and potentially reconfiguring and also there will be end user training as inevitably there will be a different look and feel to the whole environment.
Support end dates
Here are the dates when support will end for PCs running Windows XP:
- Support for Windows XP is ending on April 8, 2014.
- Support for Windows XP SP2 ended on July 13, 2010. To continue support, make sure you’ve installed Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3).
Note: There is no SP3 for the 64-bit version of Windows XP. If you’re running the 64-bit version of Windows XP with SP2, you have the latest service pack and will continue to be eligible for support and receive updates until April 8, 2014
See the following link for Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ
In summary, it is not too late to migrate but make sure you do migrate! Although most large organisations will not hit the deadline, planning your migration now will enable your IT infrastructure to migrate to a supported operating system within a reasonable timescale, a timescale that will only get more risky the longer it is left.