When Microsoft released Windows XP in 2001, no one could have predicted that it would still be in use in 2013. More amazing, it isn’t just still in use, it is extremely popular!
How popular? Nearly 40% of the world’s estimated one billion computers run Windows XP. That’s a lot of computers running an operating system that’s over a decade old. Despite a number of other operating systems available in today’s market, XP is second only to Windows 7 as the most-popular operating system around.
Windows XP has remained popular because it was stable, fast, powerful, and relatively simple to use. What’s more, many people still run XP simply because after more than a decade, it’s what they’ve become accustomed to using.
But every life cycle must end eventually, and for Windows XP, that end date is April 8, 2014.
What does that mean for people still using XP?
In Windows XP’s case, “end of life” signifies the end of Microsoft support for everything from updates to customer service. In fact, Microsoft has not released any new features or security updates for XP in more than a year, effectively ending mainstream support. Even though XP’s end-of-life date has been extended several times, this is really and truly the end.
While “end of life” sounds final and irreversible, understand that your XP computers will still function on April 8, 2014 as they did on April 7. However, the end of Microsoft support means there will be no security updates from that point forward. Any security flaws exposed by hackers will no longer be fixed. Furthermore, once Microsoft stops supporting XP, other software companies will follow suit with their own products. The time and expense involved in making sure programs and hardware work on all the versions of Windows out there means that extending support to XP after its end-of-life date will be cost-prohibitive for most developers.
Can I still use XP once support has ended?
Because it will still operate after April 2014, you will be able to use XP, but it will be at your own risk. Security software will provide some limited protection, but as time passes such software will be unable to protect you. In fact, web browsing in general will become more difficult since the last version of Internet Explorer that runs under XP is version 8. Websites already are using features that do not display in Internet Explorer version 8. Even Microsoft is abandoning support for version 8 in services it provides via the Microsoft Office 365 hosted services platform.
Here is Microsoft’s official stance:
“Office 365 will no longer support Internet Explorer 8 after 8 April 2014.
For the best, richest experience with Office 365, we strongly recommend that you upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer 10 is available now, and Internet Explorer 11 is coming soon. Modern versions of Internet Explorer offer faster web browsing, integrated spell-checking, improved security, and more.
Internet Explorer 8 users will not be blocked from connecting to Office 365 after 8 April 2014; however, Internet Explorer 8 users should expect slower performance with Office 365’s Outlook Web App and other Office Web Apps.
If you experience a technical problem connecting to Office 365 from Internet Explorer 8 after 8 April 2014, Microsoft Customer Support and Service may need you to reproduce the problem on a supported browser.”
I f you still rely on Windows XP, we strongly recommend that you start planning now to move to either Windows 7 or Windows 8. Windows 7 is a popular and successful operating system and has been widely adopted in the business world. It’s also a reasonably small leap for most users. The Windows 8 interface is a complete overhaul and the learning curve is much steeper, but it still merits consideration.
If you’re unsure about how an upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 would affect your company, contact us here at Lieberman Technologies. We can help you to assess which option is right for your business, and guide you through the upgrade.