With the support cut-off deadline looming, we look at the case for upgrading from XP to a later version of Windows.
Windows XP has been a well used, and in many cases, well-loved operating system. However with the recent news that Microsoft is withdrawing support on April the 8th it seems like another nail in the coffin for a system that’s nearly a decade old. That’s a long time when you consider the rapid speed that technology evolves at. Window XP is a near-relic and it’s probably about time you updated your computer software.
Many users will likely feel that an upgrade is unnecessary, as they are still content using Windows XP. However with technology upgrading and support for XP falling away it is likely that loyalty to the OS will not benefit users in the future.
You don’t even have to upgrade to the often-problematic Windows 8. You only need to upgrade as far as Windows 7. So for those users who do not want to relinquish Windows XP here are the reasons why you should.
Of course Windows XP has all of the necessary requirements for you to do your work, it runs all the applications that you want it to (unless it’s the latest version of Office) – it surfs the web, you can check your emails. However if you consider it more carefully, it becomes apparent that later versions of Windows could greatly increase your productivity.
Windows 7 introduced a feature called Aero Snap that made maximizing, minimizing, and organizing windows simple. You merely had to drag them to the edge of the display, up would maximize, down would minimize, and if you dragged the window to either side of the screen it would snap to that half of the screen.
Initially, this feature can seem like a novelty; however, it allows you to work on multiple windows at once with minimal fuss and most users find that it quickly becomes second nature.
File History with Windows 8
File History appeared with Windows 8 and it’s similar to the Time Machine feature in Mac OS X. It’s a clever feature that knows when you have edited a document and it saves those changes so that you can return to a previous version of your work at any point. File History scans your files every hour and this means that it is less likely that you will lose work if your PC crashes.
Windows 8 also introduced Automatic Maintenance that ensures that your PC stays running, as it should. All of the tedious tasks from Windows XP become automated, these include:
- Defragmenting your hard drive
- Antimalware scans
- Software updates
- Diagnostic tests
All of this allows you more time to be productive and less time for worrying about the day-to-day admin of your PC.
Upgrade your technology
There comes a point in time when you need to do a little spring-cleaning. In terms of your PC that runs a decade-old operating system it needs updating, as it will become increasingly less compatible with new peripherals. Most new technologies will be designed with the latest versions of Windows in mind – not XP.
Even if newer technology works with XP, it’s probably not working optimally. For example USB 3.0 will work on your device, as it is backwards compatible. You are not getting USB 3.0 however, instead it will fall back to USB 2.0, operating at about one-tenth of the potential speed available.
USB 3.0 isn’t even that new a technology and it is likely that there will be an updated version sometime soon and that will almost certainly not have support for Windows XP.
It’s worth remembering that most new technologies will not have drivers available for XP. So you can forget that new 4K monitor or that Bluetooth keyboard unless you want to scour the internet for the correct drivers and software to run on XP.
This is a big one and an important consideration to make if you still feel like staying with the aging OS. Windows XP is inherently risky and even more so now that Microsoft is withdrawing support in April, as it will render your PC virtually defenseless.
Microsoft itself has warned users about the dangers of staying with Windows XP in asecurity advisory warning. Security experts worry that cyber criminals are storing up flaws in the OS and biding their time until Microsoft withdraws support.
There is a huge danger of computers becoming infected with malware. Microsoft and cyber security experts agree that the only tactic is to upgrade the OS and avoid the possibility of data leak or stolen details.
Windows XP was a great operating system and it worth remembering it for what it was – the best version of Windows released for many consumers (personally prefer Windows 2000). But there is no point letting nostalgia win out over common sense. You want your computer to be a useful tool and upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 will allow you to experience greater productivity and greater peace of mind.
We’ve said a lot about XP and the need for upgrading over the last week, but what about Office 2003? Well, again, it’s wise to upgrade as security will also become an issue here, as it does with any outdated software that no longer relies on updates and patches to remain safe from malware.
These days, with the accessibility of Office 365 and the payment models on offer, it’s not really a huge issue, as it’s more cost effective for many businesses. We’ll be bringing you a guide to Office and your options with later versions of Windows very soon, so keep checking back.