Why the death of Windows XP is a blessing in disguise

XP End of Life

The death of Windows XP has been a long time coming. If you’re in denial or you’ve been prolonging the pain of migrating to the next version of Windows, it’s time to face the music: XP has reached its end of life.

This means more than a standard desktop OS upgrade (possibly one you’ve been putting off for the past five years). It’s going to touch almost every aspect of your IT infrastructure.

The implications of XP’s death to your business

 XP’s death means you won’t be able to support, upgrade or patch your OS – or any of the apps that rely on it. If you buy new printers, you won’t be able to find print drivers that support XP. If you buy an off-the-shelf app, there are no guarantees it will work on XP. And it’s extremely unlikely that any commercial anti-virus product on market today will continue supporting XP after its end of life. [Antivirus vendors have already announced they will be ceasing support for XP.]

Also consider that Microsoft will no longer provide any functional or security patches for XP, leaving your organization open to vulnerabilities.

XP’s end of life reaches all the way into line of business apps. In other words, it affects the entire user experience, with the potential to impact a broad swath of infrastructure and business processes.

When considering a migration off of XP, you’ll have to take stock of the apps you currently deploy to desktops and determine whether they’re compatible with Windows 7 or 8.

In some cases, you’ll be able to deal directly with your vendors to get an upgrade or compatible version of an app. But in other cases, the vendor may no longer be around, or the app [may be] homegrown — so you’ll either have to upgrade that app in-house or look at alternate methods of app delivery.

Also consider any dependencies that your internal web apps have — are they going to work with the new version of Explorer (IE10) that ships with Windows 7 and 8?

You could, of course, stay on XP and continue to live in denial. Microsoft will still sell you custom support, but you’ll pay a premium for this. And you’ll have to consider the long-term costs of continuing to support an expired OS — as well as expired apps, printer drivers and hardware. The reality is it’s going to cost you money either way.

But moving off of XP is an intimidating prospect that impacts every aspect of your organization. It’s hard to know where to start. And that’s where we will help.

 How Softchoice eases your pain migrating away from XP

Softchoice offers a host of assessments and advisory services that provide situational analyses detailing what problems exist (or don’t) and how to make any migration as painless as possible for you and your users.

With a Softchoice TechCheck, for example, we go through a discovery process to help you understand what apps are currently installed and assess the state of those apps: good, bad or ugly. (“Bad” means that version won’t work with Windows 7 or 8 but you still have some alternatives, while “ugly” means there’s no resolution.)

Testing web apps is another area we help with. You want to make sure your web apps aren’t going to choke when presented with IE10 (internally, we’ve seen apps that simply don’t work or have IE6 parameters baked into them).

 Now is the time for change

Migrating off of XP gives you an opportunity to clear out the old, outdated and stagnant, to make way for a newer, more efficient, more manageable IT environment. Whether you’re just starting discovery, or well along your migration strategy, our team of Microsoft experts are here to help.

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About Tadd Axon

Tadd is a Solutions Architect in the Microsoft Infrastructure practice. Deeply interested in and greatly enjoys designing and delivering working solutions for systems management, monitoring and automation to free humans from repetitive tasks to do interesting things.