Byte Me Article 165 – Window of opportunity to update

Windows of Opportunity to Update

Last week I wrote about Microsoft dropping support for Windows XP on the 8th of April – in less than a month. The response to this article has be immense and our phones have be ringing hot. Unfortunately there is still a lot of miss-information out there as well as a lot of concern over what is going to happen. In an effort to dispel myths I will dedicate this article to laying out the facts as plain as possible.

Windows XP is an ‘operating system’ – a complex behemoth of software programming that actually controls your computer hardware and makes your PC ‘run’. This is the foundation or building blocks onto which you install other programs such as tax packages, databases, letter writers, games and even Internet browsers. How complex is it? Windows XP was created from 45 million lines of software code!

2014-03-15 Byte Me Article 165 - Windows XP facts

Currently there is still around 8% of all computer users in Australia using Windows XP. As a comparison to these figures just over 50% are using Windows 7, around 10% are using Windows 8, less than 5% use Vista, 20% use Mac’s and the balance isn’t worth talking about. However, things change pretty rapidly in IT so I predict you will see the Windows 8 figure to grow to around 40% in just the next 2 years!

Windows XP was a great operating system but again, nothing much in IT stands still. When it was being developed by Microsoft nearly a decade and a half ago the Internet was an entirely different place. Back then there was no Facebook, no YouTube, nowhere near as much on-line shopping and nothing close to the threats and Internet security concerns that exist today.

To keep up with the massive changes in the way the Internet is used Microsoft and other companies have updated their Internet browsers such as Internet Explorer (IE) with each update having more security and being better optimised for the latest Internet changes more than the last. The latest versions of IE – version 10 and the previous version 9 simply don’t run on Windows XP. The most up-to-date IE version that XP can run is version 8 – which is too old to be secure.

Not only is the age of the IE 8 a concern but XP’s 45 million lines of code are mostly 15 years old and will no longer be patched when a hacking vulnerability is found. This simply makes using XP on the Internet past April 8 a major security risk!

By the way, if you are unsure what operating system you currently have then right mouse click on ‘My Computer’ or just ‘Computer’ in your start menu and go to the ‘properties’ option – the screen that then pops up will tell you. Alternatively I can pretty much guarantee that if your current PC was purchased prior to 2007 then you will be still be using XP.

Ok – so what should a Windows XP user do? In a nutshell – they need to replace their PC or laptop with something more modern. As an example, current XP users should not fear going straight to Windows 8.1 if it is set up right for them!

Windows 8.1 is Microsoft’s most modern operating system and it is secure, stable and powerful. We are setting up heaps of Windows 8.1 PC’s and laptops to still look, feel and drive like XP so that customers find this transition a smooth one.

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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