Microsoft has announced that, on April 8, 2014, they will officially end support for Windows XP and Office 2003. If you still have some PC’s running Windows XP and Office 2003 in your organization, now would be a good time to start migrating them to Windows 7 and Office 2010.
So what does End of Life really mean? End of Life (or EOL as we call it) basically means that Microsoft will stop providing support and patches for the software. This does not mean that your PC will stop working on April 9th but it does mean that from that date forward, you will be extremely vulnerable to both security exploits and down time.
Windows XP and Office 2003 are still very prominent in the business IT environment. For those companies who still have a large deployment of XP workstations, now is the time to start planning for this.
With Windows 8 and Office 2012 on the horizon your question should be “Shouldn’t I wait for those versions to be released before I upgrade?”. That is a gamble. As with any Operating System version change, the risk of incompatibility between the 3rd party business management, accounting and productivity applications always exists. Most vendors have tested their applications with Windows 7 by now but few have done testing with Windows 8.
Here are some steps that everyone should take to prepare for this EOL (End of Life) date:
- Check with any 3rd party application vendors that your firm may use to verify comparability with Windows 7.
- Inventory your computer hardware to ensure that they can handle the newer version of Windows. (See our post on Hardware Requirements for Windows 7). Be prepared to purchase new PC’s if needed.
- Check with peripheral vendors such as printer and scanner manufacturers to make sure your devices will work with Windows 7.
- Consult with an IT professional about the pros, cons and costs of upgrading your infrastructure and operating systems. Proper planning in this area can save your company $$$ and lost productivity time. With a project like this, having experience in this type of migration/transition project is invaluable and could be the difference between a successful migration or a company wide disaster.