End of the Line for Windows XP
Microsoft’s official end of support for both Windows XP and Office 2003 came and passed on April 8, 2014. And while Windows XP and Office 2003 have been a couple of the most popular Microsoft products ever sold, all good things must come to an end.
From now on, you won’t want to risk the security holes created by running this software. Plus there are many more modern options out there that make this a good time for you to consider migrating your business.
What is the impact of the April 8, 2014 date on your business?
Computers running the Windows XP operating system will continue to work, and businesses that use Office 2003 will continue to be able to use it. However, Microsoft will no longer support the products, meaning technical support will not be available and any new security gaps identified in the products will go unaddressed. This means your operating system and productivity software might become vulnerable to security attacks and viruses. To avoid this, Microsoft strongly recommends its users migrate away from the products. And depending on whether you are an enterprise, small business or home user, the company has differing levels of support and assistance available to help you migrate.
The upside to upgrading
If you are still using computers running Windows XP, or still using Office 2003, you should be pleased by the evolution in both hardware and software since those products were first released and you started using them more than a decade ago. In the interim, major new advances have taken place in computer design, touchscreen technology, cloud computing and many other areas. Upgrading from a familiar platform can be a painful experience, but there are considerable rewards in store for you when you decide to upgrade.
However, I should note that if your computer is more than a few years old, chances are it won’t run Windows 8, the most current version of Microsoft’s operating system for PCs. If that’s the situation you find yourself facing, it might be time to consider investing in a new computer. The good news is that the latest models are a lot lighter, considerably more powerful and a fair bit less expensive than what was available when last you went computer shopping. Most exciting of all is that many models incorporate new technologies, like the touchscreens you have come to know and love on your smartphone or tablet.
Windows 8.1 is mobile, touch-enabled and app-ready
Windows 8.1, the most current version of Microsoft’s operating system, was designed to support all the bells and whistles your new PC will offer while giving you the choice of just how much of this new learning curve you care to climb. You can use touchscreen technology or stick with keyboard and mouse. You can stay with your familiar application-centric desktop or craft a personalized start screen that includes photos, social media newsfeeds, and your favourite apps and web pages.
Whichever route you go, you will have novel features like:
- Picture-based passwords that let you trace elements of a photograph to unlock your PC;
- A search function that integrates results from your PC, your apps and the web;
- A single account you can use to sign in to any of your tablets or PCs running Windows 8.1 and see the same layout, apps, and settings; and
- Free online storage that automatically saves documents, photos and other files so you can access them anytime, from any of your PCs or devices, and share them with others.
It’s all about the cloud
Perhaps the biggest advance in how we use our computers and the software that runs on them is the cloud-computing technology that has gone mainstream over the past few years. An excellent example of this is Microsoft Office 365, the latest version of the all-time best-selling suite of productivity tools. Sold and supported by Bell, Office 365 gives you the ability to work from almost anywhere, and on almost any device you use, including PCs, Macs and a lot of mobile devices. In my next post, I’ll tell you a lot more about Office 365 and how it can help boost your productivity in a multi-platform computing world.
The bottom line
It’s never fun to give up the familiar, and no business welcomes the cost of a technology refresh. However, the risks of continuing to use products that are no longer supported by their vendor make this an ideal time to look at bringing the very latest in computer design and cloud-based software productivity to your business. Share with us in the comments section below any concerns you have about doing so but also tell what you’re most looking forward to in the new options available to you. And, if you’ve already made the leap, let us know what you like best about your new computer and software.