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Windows XP upgrades to 7/8.1

Still running Windows XP? Do you need to upgrade? How can it be made as easy as possible?

If you're still running Windows XP, you're amongst the 25% of the computer users in the world which haven't yet upgraded to something newer. Windows XP was originally released in 2001 and has been Microsoft's most popular and enduring operating system since it works pretty well and people like it.

You have probably read recently that Microsoft is discontinuing support for Windows XP from 8th April, 2014. But what does that mean to you as a Windows XP user?

Will my Windows XP computer magically stop working after April 8th?

No - it will still be business as usual, initially at least. You're probably well aware of the large amounts of Windows Updates which your machine has regularly downloaded and installed to deal with various bugs or security holes which have been found in Windows. What the end of support for Windows XP means is that if any more security holes are found, Microsoft isn't going to bother publishing fixes for them and that's where you could run in to problems.

What sort of issues am I exposed to by continuing to run Windows XP?

The problems that could occur might be things like security holes in the operating system allowing hackers to gain control of your computer, steal your identity or internet banking details, or use your computer as a vector for sending out spam or denial of service attacks over the internet. 

Should I continue using my computer if it is still running Windows XP and what can I do to protect myself?

Ideally you should consider upgrading the operating system on your machine as soon as possible to have the best level of security. If that's not possible, then make sure your antivirus program is up to date, run a Malware scan over your machine on a regular basis and consider switching to a more modern web browser than Internet Explorer 8. Windows XP can only support Internet Explorer up to version 8 which is now 3 versions old and won't have any bug fixes. This is likely where the largest chance of any infections coming in from will be after the support for Windows XP ends. If you change to Firefox or Chrome you'll lessen the chance of any issues.

So I'm ready to upgrade - but how do I do it, and will my computer handle it?

Most computers 4 years old or newer should handle Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 without too many problems. We recommend perhaps considering a RAM upgrade to 4GB of RAM to maximise the performance of your machine. If your computer is older than 4 years old then it might be time to consider an upgrade of the whole computer. We can assist with this and supply a new box, or an entire setup with screen, keyboard, mouse etc.

The bad news is that there is no direct upgrade path from Windows XP to either Windows 7 or 8/8.1. That means you need to backup all your data, install the new operating system from scratch, install drivers, Windows Updates, install all your software again and then copy your data back to the machine. That can be quite a bit of work.

We have been very busy upgrading computers from XP to Windows 7 or 8/8.1 and have developed a lot of techniques to speed up this process. We can minimise the time, expense and downtime of a Windows upgrade for you.

Shall I upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1?

You may have heard some negative feedback around Windows 8. That is usually centred around  the fact that the layout of the system is different with the tiled 'Metro' interface being designed to work on touch based systems it seems out of place with a regular mouse and keyboard driven computer. Windows 8.1 (A free update from 8) has gone some way to fixing some of those complaints, but for now we are generally recommending Windows 7 as a good option for most customers. Windows 7 is still readily available for sale and will be supported for a long time. 

I have software that will only work in Windows XP - what can I do?

We have ways around this - best idea is to call us to discuss your particular setup. This might include converting your Windows XP machine to a virtual image which can then be run on the occasions when you need to use your old software, or perhaps a dual-boot Windows XP/Windows 7 scenario.

Costs and recommended course of action will differ from customer to customer. Please call or email us for a free consultation on how best to proceed.