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The end of Windows XP support and what that means to you

Approximately two years ago on April 8, 2014, Microsoft ended support for one of its longest tenured operating systems, Windows XP. Released in October 2001, the operating system became the most widely adopted operating system for over a decade. Featuring a redesigned user interface, improved stability, and several performance improvements, Windows XP was the first operating system from Microsoft to use product activation to reduce copyright infringement. It is estimated that within the first five years of its introduction, over 400 million copies were sold, with almost 1 billion sold before its end of life.

Though Microsoft subsequently published three versions of Windows from 2007 to 2012, users remained reluctant to upgrade, despite increasing security risks. To prompt users to migrate, Microsoft announced the end of support for Windows XP in 2012, providing customers and partners two years to update to a newer version. However, even after support has ended, Windows XP currently maintains 7.4% of the market share of Windows-based desktop computers.

How end of support impacts you

Microsoft has ceased all security updates and technical updates for Windows XP thereby leaving affected PCs vulnerable to numerous exploits and viruses. If your business uses PCs running Windows XP, your environment is susceptible to a variety of security vulnerabilities that may allow malicious attacks to gain unfettered access to your core business data. Although you likely employ an up-to-date antivirus solution, Windows XP remains critically impaired as a variety of plugins and applications no longer support Windows XP, creating additional security concerns.

The risks of running Windows XP systems are endless. From data loss and theft, to denial of service attacks that interrupt your productivity and bring your business to a halt, Windows XP is a crucial security concern that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Furthermore, if your business falls under HIPAA regulations, you may find you are no longer compliant.

How to migrate off Windows XP

The best strategy for staying protected is to migrate to a supported Windows operating system. Currently, Microsoft will maintain Windows 7 through extended support until January 14, 2020. Microsoft also introduced Windows 10 in July 2015, allowing users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free until July 29th, 2016. Windows mainstream support—which includes free support from Microsoft—ends October 13, 2020, with extended support lasting until October 14, 2025.

By migrating to a supported platform, your environment will continue receiving the latest patches and hot-fixes to stay protected against the most intimidating vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed and the Angler Exploit. Computer Solutions has assisted our customers in completing several migrations and rollouts. We’ll help you plan your migration strategy, including licensing and application compatibility, then deploy the new operating system throughout your environment. Contact us or call 210.369.0300 to get started.