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Still using Windows XP? Here are the risks.

Still using Windows XP? Here are the risks.

After 12 great long years, Microsoft has stopped support Windows XP operating system. The biggest problem is that many small and medium sized businesses face several challenges especially when running custom software design to run on Windows XP.

Here are some Windows XP risks to consider:

  • Security – This one is very simple. Without Microsoft providing Windows XP security updates, all systems running Windows XP will be vulnerable to dangerous viruses, spyware and any malicious software that can corrupt or steal data.  Anti-virus software will be unable to fully protect your PC.  For companies with an internal IT department or IT support services may have noticed the decommissioning of Windows XP systems.
  • Compliance – There are many industries regulated by a governing body.  The majority of them have regulatory guidelines and requirements and Window XP no longer qualifies.  Companies in these regulated industries can also face legal action dues to security breaches and compromised data.
  • Hardware Support – Most new software does not support or will be design to not support Windows XP operating system.  Most PC hardware manufacturers have stopped supporting Windows XP on current and new hardware.  This means that drivers that run on Windows XP will no longer be available.

What next steps can Windows XP customers take? Microsoft recommends two options:

1.  Upgrade you operating system

The short-term solution is to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.1 on your existing computer.  Special note, old hardware runs the risk of having further incompatibilities not to mention running much slower. Operating systems like Windows 7 and 8.1 that run on newer harder are more advanced, fast and take advantage of many new features not available on Windows XP.

2. Buy new computers

Best business case is to modernize your IT infrastructure. Upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 reduces operational costs and improves efficiency. Upgrading allows SMBs to leverage leading edge applications, better manageability and mobility capabilities and reduce security risks.

3. Custom Software Work Around

For companies running software specifically designed for Windows XP, there is a work around solution.  Windows 7 offers Windows XP Mode. This works in two ways. It can open programs in Windows 7 and it can run a virtual instance of Windows XP that can open any legacy software. According to Microsoft, Windows XP Mode is a fully functional and a fully licensed version of Windows XP. It allows the user to access all peripherals, install programs, save files and perform any tasks as if they were running on Windows XP.

But, Windows XP Mode is not available in Windows 8.


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