Windows XP Support Expiration Doesn't Mean It's Time to Panic

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-04-07 Print this article Print

Even though your medical equipment may be on an internal network, as long as it's kept away from the Internet, you may be reasonably safe. Just be careful of strangers wielding USB memory sticks.

On the other hand, perhaps you're in an organization that hasn't upgraded because they're too cheap to spend the money. Here, your recourse is to show your bosses on paper that upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 is less expensive than ignoring the problem.

The best example of how much a major security breach can cost was provided by Target last year. In addition to finding out that fixing its security problems will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the company also lost a significant portion of its value and a lot of its customer base. Maybe you can use that lesson to pry some upgrade money out of the chief financial officer.

Then there are those companies that use a critical application that was written for XP and for which there are no updates. Depending on the way the application was delivered, you may be paying a maintenance fee every month. If so, now is the time to explain that maintenance needs to include a move to a new environment. If that doesn't work, take a shot at running the software using Windows 7, with the Windows XP emulation turned on. If that works, you're home free.

On the other hand, you may be running a custom application that was written for XP, and for which there is no maintenance plan. Here you can at least check to see if it will run under Windows 7 or 8.1. If it looks as if it will, and you can thoroughly test it, then again you may luck out.

If it doesn't, then try to run the computer without attaching it to the Internet. If that won't work you will have to start preparing for a replacement. Even with some late-day workarounds, you're going to have to move away from XP at some point.

For everyone else, it's time to realize that a migration is inevitable. Most computer makers have migration automation software as does Microsoft. It doesn't make it as easy as it would have years ago, but a migration is possible. Just plan on devoting one person per machine per day, less for an automated migration, and do it. Or decide the time has come to refresh your Windows computers. It'll cost you less in the long run.


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