Windows XP Extended Support Is Officially Over

As of April 8th, 2014 Microsoft has officially ended extended support of Windows XP.

Note to business required to be HIPAA compliant: You MUST upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista or higher or replace your Windows XP computers to remain HIPAA compliant.

What does this mean to users?
The end of extended support means that Microsoft will no longer provide technical assistance or release patches and updates for Windows XP. If a new security hole or exploit is found by a hacker or security expert, Microsoft will no longer do anything to fix it.  If you have Windows XP, your computer will not stop working, but it will over time become more vulnerable to viruses and security risks. Also, it’s very likely that any new hardware or peripherals (printers, scanners, digital cameras, etc), and software will not work with or support Windows XP computers. We recommend that you either upgrade to Windows 7 or later if your computer meets the minimum system requirements, or replace your computer altogether to avoid the potential and likely security risks that come along with running an out of date operating system.

Should I upgrade or replace my computer?
If your computer is 4 or more years old, we would recommend replacing it. The cost to upgrade it would be about 75% of what it would cost to purchase a new computer with a warranty. If you are still on the fence on whether you want to upgrade or replace your computer, we’ve laid out our recommended system requirements for you.

With Microsoft’s minimum system requirements, your system will work with the operating system, albeit not very well. Our recommended system specifications will ensure that the computer is capable of performing at a reasonable level.

We recommend the following minimum system specifications:

  • Intel Core i3 or AMD Phenom II X4 Processor
  • 2GB RAM Minimum, 4GB Recommended
  • 160GB or larger hard drive

Microsoft’s Windows 7 Minimum System Requirements
Microsoft’s Windows 8 Minimum System Requirements

How can I keep Windows XP and stay safe from viruses and hackers?
The short answer is to disconnect your computer from the Internet. The fact is that most people these days need to be connected to the Internet unless Solitaire is the limit to their computing requirements. If you must keep Windows XP here are a few things you can try, to remain safe (but don’t say we didn’t warn you 😉 ):

  • Make sure you have an up to date and fully patched antivirus software; we recommend AVG Antivirus or Bit Defender.
  • Ideally it would be best to keep Java, Adobe Flash, and Adobe Reader off of the computer; if you must have them they should be kept up to date.
  • Use a browser other than Internet Explorer like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox

Can’t I just go buy a $300 computer at a large retailer and be done with it?
The old adage “you get what you pay for” rings true. If you buy a $300 computer, you’re going to get a $300 computer. These computers are rarely “deals”, they’re built using cheap parts, and generally have low performance specifications. Additionally, they typically have shorter warranties periods.

If you need assistance with replacing or upgrading your Windows XP computer, give us a call at (855) IT-GURUS (484-8787). We’re here to help!