It is said that all good things must come to an end. Since 2001 when it was first released, Windows XP has been a workhorse of an operating system for both home and business PCs. But alas, Microsoft will cease supporting the Windows XP Operating System as of April 8, 2014. So what does this mean?
In a nutshell, Windows XP has become antiquated in the eyes of Microsoft and they’re putting it out to pasture. Remember Windows 95? 98? Millennium Edition? They all have succumbed to replacement by newer operating systems. Security updates and Windows updates will no longer be produced for Windows XP. Though your anti-virus program could still protect the computer from viruses and other bad things, the defunct operating system will become increasingly vulnerable to malware and virus issues.
So for home computing, here are the options:
- Windows Vista Service Pack 2
- Windows 7
- Windows 8.1
The options to move forward from Windows XP are fairly simple: upgrade your computer or replace your computer. Computers manufactured more than a year or two ago will likely not run newer versions of Windows. It is possible-but-not-probable to beef up existing computers by increasing the RAM, the processor, or the hard drive. The Microsoft website offers a Windows Upgrade Assistant that will tell you if your current PC can handle Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 8.1.
Windows 8 was released and was quickly updated by version Windows 8.1 in 2013. These versions have been met with mixed public reaction as they are a stark departure from Microsoft’s traditional “Start button” menu setup. From personal experience, I can attest that Windows 8.1 is definitely learnable. But there will likely be some “What did it just do?” and “How do I get back there?” moments.
Here at Computer Helper Publishing, we have been advising the customers of our Church Windows Church Management Software to make the transition away from Windows XP whenever feasible. As is likely with other software program upgrades, there will be a point in time when certain programs will no longer run properly on Windows XP.
I’ve gathered some opinions from two of the main “computer guru” techs here at Church Windows concerning which newer operating system a person should consider. There’s well more than a half-century of experience in the computer field between these three. Here’s what they had to say:
“I strongly suggest that users currently on Windows XP upgrade to Windows 7 to lessen the learning curve found in Windows 8-8.1. (Windows) XP and Windows 7 are both Menu-driven where Windows 8 is more touch/visual driven and can confuse many users used to XP.” – John Faught, Church Windows Support Technician
“With the upcoming ‘end-of-life’ for Windows XP, users need to decide on a replacement operating system soon. I personally prefer to upgrade to Windows 7 as the interface is similar to Windows XP. The start menu and desktop screens are very similar. Windows 8 looks to be designed more for tablet or touch-screen laptops and is difficult to navigate with keyboard and mouse. I have spoken with several of my users who have expressed their frustration with Windows 8 and 8.1.” – Jim VanSickle, Church Windows Support Technician
So, much like automobiles, computers reach the end of their utility and must be replaced. As Church Windows Tech Manager, David Trimmer, put it, “Computers are not refrigerators; they don’t last 15 years. The expected life of a computer is only 3 to 4 years.”