Biz Features

Stop Procrastinating: Migrating from Windows XP

by . January 29th, 2014

Disclaimer: YouTheEntrepreneur is not affiliated with the author or any of the sites mentioned below. Images and videos found on this page are the author’s own unless stated otherwise.

Windows XP is known as one of the most reliable and most popular computer operating systems in history. Because it works so well, a large contingent of people are still using the system on both personal and business computers.

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Despite this, Microsoft has announced that all support and updates for Windows XP will end on April 8, 2014, which means that the OS will become vulnerable to a slew of new viruses and other security threats. At this point, the only option is to upgrade the venerable Windows XP and migrate to a new OS before the deadline is reached.

Why Are So Many People Still Using XP?

Windows XP was introduced in 2001, and it quickly rose in popularity to become the most widely used computer operating system in the world. By the time its successor, Windows Vista, was introduced in 2006, more than 400 million licensed copies of Windows XP were in use around the globe.

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The greatest strengths of Windows XP are that it is compatible with a wide variety of hardware and software, it is fast and efficient and it rarely crashes. This has led many XP users to procrastinate in upgrading even though Microsoft has already released three new versions of its Windows operating systems: Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

However, now that XP will no longer be supported, security updates will cease to be created and distributed. Hackers and cyber criminals understand this, so many will be targeting all of the newly vulnerable Windows XP computers.

Choose an Upgrade

The first option to consider when migrating to a new OS is which OS to choose. Many users who were reluctant to migrate to the buggy Windows Vista changed their minds when Windows 7 showed to be much improved over its predecessor, but Web hosting providers, communications companies and software developers are reporting that at least 45 percent of laptop and desktop computers are still running Windows XP.

Since Windows 7 is both stable and reliable, it would normally make the most sense to upgrade to this OS, but Microsoft has already taken steps to get users to migrate to Windows 8. Retail sales of Windows 7 to consumers ceased in October 2013, and Microsoft has announced that phone and online support for the OS will end in January 2015.

Extended support, which includes security fixes, for Windows 7 will continue until 2020, so businesses and anyone with an existing copy of the OS could still use this version for several years to come.

Hardware Compatibility

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The choice of a new OS to replace Windows XP largely depends on hardware compatibility. Microsoft currently has an online utility available, the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, that will automatically detect whether current hardware components and peripheral devices are compatible. If the hardware is already compatible, it will probably be safe to migrate to Windows 8.

However, if compatibility issues exist, users may want to check whether the hardware will work with Windows 7. If so, a choice must then be made to either buy new hardware that is compatible with Windows 8 or migrate to Windows 7.

In many instances, users may discover that their existing computers are incompatible with any OS beyond Windows XP. This will mean that migration will require purchasing new machines.

For those who are looking to save money, purchasing used computers may make the most sense, but it is important to keep in mind that most new computers will come with Windows 7 or Windows 8 preinstalled, which makes the process much easier and eliminates the added expense of buying a new OS separately.

Software Compatibility

Another issue to consider when migrating from Windows XP is software compatibility. Many software releases that work with Windows XP will not work with Windows 7 or Windows 8. Anyone who has such software should first see if free or low-cost upgrades are available for newer OSs.

If not, another important decision must be made. Windows 7 includes a free utility that will allow software to run in an XP-compatible environment. However, this utility was not included in Windows 8, and users who want to migrate to this OS will need to decide upon replacement software.

System Settings

When migrating to a new OS from Windows XP, users should take care to note their account information and system configuration in the old OS. Some users may have inadvertently made their systems susceptible to security threats by misconfiguring XP, and directly transferring existing settings to a new OS will make it vulnerable too. Each option should be carefully considered to make the migration a success.

For more information on  migrating to a new OS, visit Dell.com.

 

Are you making the move to a new OS this year? What are your main concerns?

Image Sources

Laptop: Kit_Hartford via photopin cc

Compatibility: Twm™ via photopin cc

Other Photos are author’s own

About the Author

Matt Smith works for Dell and has a passion for learning and writing about technology. Outside of work he enjoys entrepreneurship, being with his family, and the outdoors.

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