Friday, December 27, 2013

Microsoft XP End of Life

You’ve held on to your Windows XP PC long enough and it’s time for you to let it go… 

(If you have already let it go, you need not read any further…)

We know you love your Windows XP machines.  We hear you.  XP has been your friend for a long time and why end the relationship now, when you can still use it?

The truth is that XP has been a tremendous success for Microsoft and an amazing workhorse but all good things come to an end.  Windows XP was released 12 years ago about a month after 9/11, when gas was $1.46 a gallon, US postage 34 cents and a dozen eggs cost 90 cents.  George Bush was in his first term, Enron had just filed Chapter 11, Dale Earnhardt was killed in the Daytona 500, and the original iPod just hit the market. 

If you have the NEWEST computer running XP, it was purchased in 2006.  That year Italy won the World Cup, Barry Bonds broke Babe Ruth’s Home Run record (715), Winter Olympics were hosted in Turin, Italy, Nintendo released the Wii, Pluto was downgraded as a planet, and Google purchased YouTube.

Internet Explorer 8 (integrated into XP) has now become incompatible with many websites and there will be no new updates for the operating system.  The system will simply be obsolete and hackers will target XP PCs and steal information and identities.  Microsoft will not help you any further as of April 8, 2014 and the deadline is firm this time.   Please understand that your XP computers will still function on April 8, 2014 as they did on April 7th but they will be MUCH more vulnerable.  These vulnerabilities could adversely affect your network and possibly cause you to lose data, productivity and sleep.  TURNkey IT cannot warrant things that happen after the Microsoft deadline and will follow suit with the majority of developers, MSPs and service companies by discontinuing service for these machines.  We will not be held responsible for         things that may happen regarding these legacy PCs.  If they cause problems on your network or                 simply become inoperable, you will have to replace them.  Please consider yourself kindly informed.

We also do not want to be alarmist or predict a “Y2K”.  We simply have too many people who rely on our guidance to sit idly by. 
What will happen after April 8th, 2014?

Most security experts (including not surprisingly, those at Microsoft) expect there to be a dramatic increase in Windows XP security attacks after April 8th, the date of the last security patch for Windows XP.

First, it’s very likely that hackers have been “saving” unpatched vulnerabilities, knowing that they will have free access to exploit them after the 8th.  To add to the danger, it’s expected that the bad guys will probably even reverse engineer vulnerabilities that Microsoft continues to patch in Windows Vista (which is similar in structure to Windows XP) and will also use those to attack your Windows XP machines.  And to compound the problem even more, Windows XP already has the highest rate of malware infection among Windows versions, being almost 5 times as likely to get infected as Windows 8.

So, yes, I’m afraid that Windows XP users SHOULD worry, and prepare for the worst.

If you have a Windows XP computer that is not connected to the Internet, you’re perfectly safe, since all the threats come from being online. However, my guess is, you ARE connected to the Internet (especially since you are reading this) and you will need to take action.

But should I get a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer?

Windows 7 is still around 4 years after its initial release and is widely accepted in the business world.  It is a little more difficult to find because you have to deal with a company like TURNkey to get it loaded and configured as OEMs (like Dell, HP, Asus, etc.) have moved to loading Windows 8. 

As much as you love your Windows XP computer, I’m afraid it’s time for a change. Using your Windows XP machine past April 8th opens you up to too much potential heartache and pain from the hackers who will no doubt scour the online world for anyone with a Windows XP computer.

The good news is, you have plenty of time to adapt if you start planning soon.  The time is now to be resolute and make that change from XP to 8.  You’ll be glad you did.

Happy New Year and cheers to a happy, healthy and prosperous one!