The end of Windows XP

by Dereck Senter on July 11, 2013

Welcome to Information Technology (IT) made simple.

This week our subject is Windows XP, end of life.

On October 25, 2001, Windows XP was released.  It was a follow up operating system to Windows 98, and Windows ME.  Windows 98 was a good, stable operating system that a lot of consumers liked, because it was good for gaming.  It was not secure.  Windows ME was a disaster from the moment it was introduced.

XP was important for Microsoft, in that, they needed an operating system that was secure, business friendly, and gaming friendly.  It seemed like a tall order, but Microsoft did deliver.

It was a bumpy road at first.  But, Microsoft came through with updates that completely stabilized XP.  It became the bench mark operating system.

Fast forward to 2006.  Microsoft Vista is released.  It is supposed to be the successor to XP.  It was what I would consider a disaster.  Vista was more secure, but it was secure to the point of not allowing users to do their daily functions.  It was also very “heavy” on the computer.  Which made it slow.  Our recommendations at the time were to keep XP.  There was no reason to upgrade.  Many others felt the same way, and Microsoft kept selling and supporting XP.

In 2009 Windows 7 arrived.  Everyone was concerned that this might be a Vista repeat.  Fortunately, Windows 7 was usable, and secure, and fast.  Leaps and bounds better that Vista.  It seemed at the time though, that there still wasn’t enough reason to switch from XP.  There was a bit of a learning curve to Windows 7.  It wasn’t exactly the same as interacting with XP.

This brings us to present day.  Last year, Windows 8 was released.  It is much faster, and more secure that both XP and Win 7.  The problem is, the interface is Very different.  It has a learning curve for users to get used to it.

Microsoft has released two very good operating systems in a row, and have decided to retire Windows XP.  It is time.  XP is very difficult to keep secure.

So, on April 14, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP.  What does that actually mean?  Will XP machines around the world stop working?  The short answer is no.  What will happen after that date?  Microsoft stops putting out updates for it.  Security updates and stability updates.  This is a big deal for some.

Immediately, Windows XP will no longer be HIPAA compliant.  In HIPAA, one of the main requirements is to use an operating system that is continuously updated by its manufacturer.  That leaves XP out in the cold.

Luckily, with the other, more modern operating systems available from Microsoft, there are plenty of options.  Both Windows 7, and Windows 8 are available to step in, and take over.  Windows 8 is an excellent choice for any touch screen device that you may want to use. Windows 7 is a great choice for desktops.

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