Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP. After this year Microsoft will no longer provide security updates, assisted support options, or online content updates for Windows XP. Upgrade your nonprofit or library's operating system to stay current and protected.

Why Is Microsoft Ending Support?

Microsoft products, including Windows and Office products, generally receive a minimum of 10 years of support (5 years mainstream support and 5 years of extended support, such as service packs). Those ten years are up; Windows XP (as well as Office 2003) will go out of support in early 2014.

What does this mean? Once support ends, there will be no further security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates. You can learn more here. If you haven't already, your organization should begin planning to upgrade any computers that are currently running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Office 2003.

Donations of Windows 8 Are Available at TechSoup

 Eligible nonprofits, foundations, and libraries can now request donated upgrades of Windows 8 Professional and Enterprise editions through the Microsoft Software Donation Program at TechSoup.

With a new, mobile-friendly design that features sleek tiles in the place of conventional icons, Windows 8 features a new take on the traditional Windows environment. It keeps some aspects of what we're all used to from Windows XP and Windows 7. But it drops the "Start" button in favor of a new app-integrated look and easier syncing with cloud-based services. There are also numerous improvements "under the hood," such as a smaller memory footprint, faster performance than Windows 7, and reduced disk-space requirements.

If you have received a donation of a Windows operating system through TechSoup that included Software Assurance (and it is still current), you can upgrade to Windows 8 for no additional cost. 

 

What's New in Windows 8?

  • Faster: Across the board, Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7 and Windows XP in boot time, file compression, and even opening tabs in web browsers. Older computers — assuming they meet the system requirements — could also see a boost by installing Windows 8.
  • SkyDrive sync: Microsoft's cloud storage program is built in to just about every application in Windows 8. If you log in to Windows 8 using a Microsoft account, your apps and preferences are synced to the cloud. When you log in to Windows 8 on another computer, those settings and preferences will be available to you — so you get the same consistent Windows 8 experience, no matter where you are.
  • Energy efficient: Windows 8 saves battery life by dropping to a low-power state when you're not doing anything power-intensive.
  • More secure: Windows 8 comes with Windows Defender malware and virus protection. It also provides better defense against malicious downloads through the SmartScreen filter, which is built into the operating system.

Plus: Windows 8 is good for multilingual organizations, as users can easily switch between display languages, and additional display languages are available.

Is Windows 8 Right for You?

Windows 8 is unlike any operating system Microsoft has ever released. Many of the basic tenets of Windows — like the Start menu, desktop experience, and the eponymous windows — seem to be gone. Don't fret! Below Windows 8's new interface, you’ll find a desktop experience as Windows 7. And the new Windows 8 interface feels like the mobile tablet and phone interfaces most of us are now used to.

Plus, Windows 8 offers some new features that may help your staff's productivity as well as the performance and longevity of your organization's computers. To help you decide whether Windows 8 is a good fit for your organization, we've come up with four questions for you to consider.

Easily See What You Can Request

To help you manage your Microsoft donations, we've created the Microsoft Donation Center. Organizations can easily track what donations they have received so far, what remains of their software allotment, when their cycle resets, and the value of their Microsoft software donations to date.

Not sure if your organization is eligible for donations from Microsoft? Log in to your TechSoup account, and take our Check Eligibility Quiz.