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April 24th, 2014

Microsoft ended official support for Windows XP recently—on April 8, 2014—but no one can claim surprise. And they didn’t need to convince the tech-savvy, who have been moving to Windows 7 and 8 (and, in small numbers, to Linux and Macs, like our potent MacBook Pro rental) for the last few years. It’s true that, as of March 2014, XP was the world’s second most popular OS, holding about 28 percent share. But the pace of upgrading is accelerating, a pretty predictable result when you really do get to the end of the road.

Microsoft has been “pleading with customers” to upgrade, observes Spencer Ferguson of Wasatch IT, who was on Microsoft’s licensing and anti-piracy teams back in the day. It might look and sound like a sales pitch for buying the company’s latest OS, but Ferguson says it should mean only one thing to users: “It means you should take action.” We offer up these simple, straightforward FAQs about this crucial matter, and suggest that whatever action you are going to take, do it ASAP. Now consider:

What’s the #1 reason to upgrade? — One word: security. Windows XP computers will certainly still function, but without new security updates, non-security “hot fixes,” free or paid support plans, or online technical content updates. Some firms are moving to fill in the gaps, but your XP computer will be poorly defended, and hackers will exploit bugs and back doors that Microsoft is neither fixing nor closing.

Are there exceptions? — After the initial negative feedback , in February 2014 Microsoft extended Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows XP until July 2015. Enterprise customers will get System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security and Endpoint Protection, and Windows Intune, while consumers will receive Microsoft Security Essentials updates. nti-malware solutions are limited, and only “some anti-virus providers” will extend support for XP.

Is it a big deal for real, or Y2K-level dramatics? — A new data breach or computer invasion hits the headlines daily. The risks are real. Just because you like XP, or you don’t want to hassle upgrading, you’ll risk your company? Anti-malware maker Avast estimates that Windows XP systems are “six times” more vulnerable than PCs running Windows 7. (Of course, when you rent iMac computers from CRE, you get the least hacked OS around.)

How do I make the switch? — Microsoft’s online tutorial help you get from Windows XP to Windows 7, so make certain to back up all your files. The update process will not preserve your settings, preferences, files, and programs.

Can I upgrade straight to Windows 8? — It is technically possible, of course, but Microsoft warns that “Windows 8.1 isn’t designed for installation on PCs running Windows Vista or Windows XP.” What with the costs of two OS packages, if you want to end up with Windows 8, you really should buy a new machine. If you have a tight budget, search for reports like “Best Budget Laptops.”

Microsoft, naturally, wants everyone to adopt its latest and soon-to-be-upgraded-to-greatest OS, Windows 8. It has picked up market share slowly (it just went over 11 percent in February) because of the touch-centric UI, but the newly released Windows 8.1 Update promises to bring some of the Windows 8 resistors back into the fold. We’ll keep you posted!

When you rent computers from CRE Rentals you can feel safe knowing that you’ll be getting the most secure,  up-to-date OS and Anti-virus versions available.  Plus, our post-rental wiping process ensures that any data you leave on the machines will not make it into the hands of the next client.  Keeping your valuable data safe is just a small part of the CRE Rentals experience.   Call 877-266-7725 today to let us know how we can help with your technology rental needs.

 

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