Updated July 2 at 5:02pm

With XP’s “end-of-life” approaching what are your options?

On Oct. 25, 2001, Microsoft introduced an operating system that had small to large businesses alike exhaling a sigh of relief. Windows XP, successor to Windows ME, has been a stable, reliable and very user-friendly operating system. As of March 2013, 38.73 percent of PC’s connected to the Internet still run Windows XP. As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft will be hanging a RIP sign over this mainstream operating system when it will no longer offer any support to existing users.

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With XP’s “end-of-life” approaching what are your options?

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On Oct. 25, 2001, Microsoft introduced an operating system that had small to large businesses alike exhaling a sigh of relief. Windows XP, successor to Windows ME, has been a stable, reliable and very user-friendly operating system. As of March 2013, 38.73 percent of PC’s connected to the Internet still run Windows XP. As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft will be hanging a RIP sign over this mainstream operating system when it will no longer offer any support to existing users.

After more than a decade, what does this mean for you? What if you don’t change? What are your options?

So what are the risks of nonmigration?

• Security patches. Die-hard XP fans, it is time to put down your weapons. Do not fight the inevitable – think security! Microsoft will no longer be writing any patches to fix security holes uncovered by hackers. This means your entire network could be vulnerable to attacks. It is speculated that many hackers are “waiting-in-the-wings” to attack come April 2014. Standard anti-virus software will not be enough. You’ve worked so hard to safeguard your network. Don’t risk exploitation.

• Software compatibility. Be aware that newer software packages of MS Office 2013, QuickBooks and Adobe Acrobat will not run on Windows XP. You can’t afford to put your business on a stand-still.

• Drivers. A driver is software for a peripheral such as a printer, scanner, mouse or webcam that enables each of these devices to communicate with the computer’s operating system. If you are looking to replace your printer or add a new scanner to your hardware mix, they will not be written for XP. You will be severely limiting your ability to grow by not upgrading your operating system.

You might be thinking, no problem, I will just upgrade my operating system and keep my old computers. This is like applying a new paint job on an old car. It might look new but it is still an old car. It will not improve the way it runs. This analogy holds true for trying to upgrade old XP machines.

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