Many of you have heard that Server 2003 and Windows XP will soon no longer be supported, so I keep getting asked, “How does that affect me and my business?” Basically it comes down to three things; Updates, Hardware and Software. If you want to read more about XP lifecycle or Server 2003 Lifecycle click the links.
First, let’s discuss Microsoft Updates. Every Tuesday, Microsoft releases updates to all of its active applications and operating systems (OS). Both XP and Server 2003 are still in extended support for a short period, so their updates no longer include new features or drivers, ONLY security updates. Once the operating system extended support expires, the security updates will stop. The next question I always get is: “Is my computer going to stop working?” and the answer is no. However, without the security updates, your computer will be less secure from intrusions and infections. Also, if you are in a quickly-evolving industry, (i.e. financial or health care), that has regulatory compliance, XP will no longer be compliant.
Next there is the hardware question, for a couple of years now the computer manufacturers have not been required to test for compatibility with XP/Server 2003, nor produce drivers for those OS. However, 3rd party peripherals like printers, cameras or any other device that gets plugged into your computer still had to produce an XP driver. When the OS is at the end of its life, the manufacturers will no longer have to produce a driver for XP/Server 2003. Beware, if you get a new printer or add other devices to your computer while running server 2003 or XP, it will likely be incompatible.
Lastly there is the software question. Any new software released will no longer have to test for compatibility with XP/Server 2003. What does that mean to you, you ask? If you have an application that you need, and it gets updates, those updates may not work in XP/server2003. The easiest example I give is many of our businesses use QuickBooks for their financials. The 2014 version that will come out in January may not be supported in XP. If you’re running another application for scheduling, inventory etc. any future updates will likely not work in XP or Server 2003.
So what is the long and short of it? You need to have a plan on replacing all of the XP or Server 2003 machines on your network before the, “end of life” dates or you will have increased risk of intrusion and many more headaches in regards to updates or new software or hardware. To come up with a plan on replacing computers in the most cost effective way as possible, call me and I will be happy to come out and evaluate your needs and help you determine the best course of action.
Future Link IT
Direct Number: 224-523-8063