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XP was our trusty and faithful workhorse for many years, so it grieves me to declare
it, but it's time for it to retire. On April 8, 2014 Microsoft will stop issuing patches and
security updates for Windows XP and Office 2003.
According to Microsoft, the end of XP support could mean a world of trouble for those who don't upgrade:
Windows XP security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses,
spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data
and information. Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect
you once Windows XP itself is unsupported."
it’s true that Windows XP and Office 2003 won't stop working on zero
day (April 8th), PCs using XP will face greatly increased exposure
to malware attacks. Computerworld declared that "XP's retirement will be hacker heaven" as soon as Microsoft ceases guarding the XP fortress.
The risk will of course increase over time. PC World is
calling this the ‘XPocalypse’. (I'm not sure how to pronounce that, but it sounds scary).
The end of XP support is a big deal because so many organizations are still using it.
According to Net Marketshare, just
under a third of PCs are still using Windows
Among charities and libraries, who tend to hang on to their PCs longer than
other organizations, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still over half of the PC
While April 2014 may seem far away, there's good reason to upgrade now.
XP is already the least secure operating system out there, and Microsoft Office 2003 isn't in great shape either:
The good news is
that Windows 7, Windows 8, and more recent versions of Microsoft Office run well
on older PCs.
satisfied our curiosity on that by installing Windows 8 and Office 2010
Standard on a classic Windows XP computer, a Dell
Optiplex GX 280 from 2005. Find
out more on that at my “Windows
8 on Older PCs?” piece.
If you haven’t
heard about all this yet, I hope this is a wake up call. I know it takes some time to
get the money budgeted, get your TechSoup Windows
7, or Windows
8.1, or Office
2013 donations, and do the upgrades on your computers.
You can upgrade to Windows
8.1 through TechSoup's Microsoft donation program. See our Microsoft page
for more details. For info on the quantity of products you can request,
special rules for software donations to public libraries, and specific
procedures to follow for returns, see the Microsoft
Software Donation Program – Eligibility, Allotments, and Returns page.
Image: courtesy of Kit_Hartford via Flickr Creative Commons
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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