♫ Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye my love
I can’t hide, can’t hide, can’t hide what has come…♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by Avril Lavigne.
April 8, 2014 is a significant date for users of Microsoft XP and Office 2003. On that date, support ends for both of these venerable and well-loved products.
Microsoft wants its 100 Million XP and Office 2003 users to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 and Office 2010 or Office 365.
MS has relented on MSE (Security Essentials updates) and will continue these until July 14, 2015 but that does not mean that you should stay with these products.
The time, as they say, has come to say goodbye. From a management perspective, your choice is to try to upgrade your software on your existing hardware or to upgrade your hardware as well as the associated operating system and Office suite.
What does end of support mean? According to Microsoft:
It means you should take action. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.
Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:
Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.
Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Hardware Manufacturers support: A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests “many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP in 2011; in 2012, it will become common.” And it may stifle access to hardware innovation: Gartner Research further notes that in 2012, most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models.
What should you be doing? The time is short. Lawyers can not afford the downtime that can come with your computers becoming infected as a result of security vulnerabilities by continuing to use XP. You need to be proactive.
You need to determine if your hardware can run Windows 7 (). However, if your computer is an older one, chances are that you will stand to benefit (and indeed may be required) to purchase a current PC (unfortunately most new computers will come with Windows 8 preinstalled – most business users will want to downgrade to Windows 7).
Once you upgrade your operating system you have to reinstall all your software by hand (you will need all the original installation disks). You will then have to test your current software to see if it will run properly under Windows 7. Peripherals as well may no longer be compatible or may require driver updates.
The point is that time is ticking. You need to establish a budget and book your IT support time (*they will be in short supply as well as the ‘window’ closes*). You will want to have the full conversion, upgrades and testing all this completed in advance of April 8, 2014.
Don’t wait. Unfortunately you can’t hide from what has come.
-David J. Bilinsky, Vancouver, BC.