Update – April 10, 2014: Microsoft and ESG support for Windows XP has now ended. Please read below to see how this impacts your business and what steps we recommend!
Original Post – February 2014: By now you have likely heard from numerous sources including national media, Microsoft, and our ESG Blog that support for Windows XP will be ending April 8, 2014. How will this impact you if you still have Windows XP machines in your business? Well, there will be many implications. We have noted some of the most major below. If you want to save time the key takeaway, however, is that we continue to strongly advise replacing your Windows XP machines with Windows 7 or 8 machines before or during April 2014!
Will your XP machines stop working on April 8, 2014? No.. they will continue to function. However there will be a number of major business-operations impacts we at ESG want you to consider:
- Microsoft will no longer be issuing security patches. This will make your XP systems very vulnerable to attack, and as time extends away from April 8, 2014, we at ESG expect hackers to pick off remaining XP systems with increasingly intrusive attacks. Even leaving one XP machine in your network could leave a back door open for a future hacker or malware attack.
- ESG will no longer be loading or reloading Windows XP systems. If you bring us a Windows XP system infected with a virus or malware, it will not be an option to wipe it and reload it with XP. Instead, we will remove the data if that can be safely done, and suggest reloading or replacing the systems with Windows 7 or Windows 8. This will be done at our normal hourly billable rates. Data removal from an infected or crashed XP system can take much longer than if we are able to proactively help you transfer the data to a new system!
- Many third-party vendors will cease to support their Windows XP platform versions. This means ESG will be limited on the type of support available for Windows XP systems. For example, if you are still running a Windows XP machine with ACT as a contact database, ACT will no longer be providing help documents or technical support for their product. They will consider that version a legacy version. The same is true for many older versions of QuickBooks and Quicken. Data loss can result and is in fact likely as the resources available to aid in triage and repair will be limited.
- With a vast number of Windows XP machines still in use in the US and around the world, a small rush is expected in the ordering of Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines. While scarcity of desktops or laptops is not expected, higher demand typically results in higher prices. The sooner you replace your Windows XP machines, the less risk you run of the price increasing or the desired replacement model being unavailable.
- While some security software providers will continue to provide Windows XP versions of their products beyond April 2014, it is unlikely that many will offer support beyond Dec 2014. With that in mind and the issues with the lack of patching from Microsoft, ESG recommends that if you must keep a Windows XP machine in your environment you should contact us about removing all Internet access from it. Eliminating Internet access will remove many, but not all, of the pathways through which a remaining Windows XP machine might become compromised. Other ways in which it could still become compromised would include a network worm or an infected USB-stick.
- Additionally, third-party vendors may charge extra for support of Windows XP if it is available. ESG will in turn need to pass these charges and our own higher costs on to you if you have issues with your Windows XP machines and third-party software.
If you still have Windows XP systems in your environment, please contact us today to obtain a quote and create a plan for replacement!