Microsoft Rings Windows XP Warning Bells
With 60 days to go before it pulls the plug on Windows XP, the software giant steps up its campaign to get SMBs and consumers to upgrade.Microsoft is ending support for its Windows XP operating system on April 8, 2014, meaning that the company will stop issuing patches to fix bugs and mending any vulnerabilities that may arise. Although PCs running XP won't cease to work on that date, they will be effectively obsolete. Two months before Windows XP's "End of Support" date arrives, the company is reaching out to both small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and consumers, providing them with guidance on some of the steps that they can take to avoid the risks of running unsupported software. Efforts include an SMB checklist penned by Jay Paulus, director of Windows Small Business Marketing for Microsoft. He cautioned that "businesses still running the old operating system face increased security risks, increased costs and lack of technical support." Among the biggest challenges facing SMBs are limited IT resources and personnel, argued Paulus. "For many small and medium-sized businesses with little to no IT budget, the process may fall on one employee or the owner themselves and upgrading 5, 25 or 250 computers can seem daunting." What follows is a guide pointing to several resources that SMB technologists can use to research, plan and implement an upgrade strategy. For starters, Microsoft encourages the use of its Upgrade Assistant to help businesses determine whether their current systems can run Windows 8.1.
Since not all hardware released in the XP era will pass, Microsoft suggests exploring new options that offer a variety of form factors, from sleek Ultrabooks and mini-desktops to tablets. To lessen the impact of new PC purchases, the company points to several special Windows and Office offers tailored for SMBs.