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3/25/2014
11:06 AM
Michael Endler
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Windows XP Game Over: 9 Upgrade Options

Some of you don't want to say goodbye to Windows XP any more than you wanted to retire the Atari. But support ends on April 8: We break down your best upgrade options.
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Stick it out with Windows XP

As of February, Windows XP still accounted for about half a billion PC users. No one -- not even Microsoft -- thinks all of those people are going to upgrade in time.
 
Even after the service termination deadline, many people will continue to depend on XP. If your PCs don't use a public Internet connection and are dedicated to only one or two apps, you might not need continued Microsoft support. Upgrading old PCs to newer operating systems can come with their own problems. 

But what if you do intend to stick with XP, and continue web browsing, email, social media, and other Internet-reliant activities? What are the risks?

There are several schools of thought, few of them encouraging. Experts believe Windows XP isn't all that secure right now, and that it will inevitably grow less so over time. Some speculate hackers are stockpiling zero-day vulnerabilities, waiting until April 9 to wreak havoc. No smoking-gun evidence of such plots has emerged -- but think about it: If you were a criminal sitting on a bunch of unknown exploits, when would you act? Now, when Microsoft is still on guard? Or in a few weeks, when XP will be a sitting duck?

Some XP diehards point out that the most apocalyptic predictions come from Microsoft and security vendors; that is, people who are selling something. These holdouts reason they can keep using the Internet as long as they take necessary precautions, such as installing malware protection, using Chrome instead of Internet Explorer, and disabling Java and Adobe Flash. Although this will decrease the risks, it doesn't guarantee safety.

Continued XP usage is like driving an old car, says Gartner analyst Michael Silver: It requires diligent maintenance, doesn't offer some of the benefits of new options, and might stop working at any time. It's a fair analogy, but if your old car breaks down, your worst-case scenario is probably walking a few miles. If your XP security fails, your social security number, credit card information, and other sensitive data might be at risk. 

If you're unnerved by the prospect of constantly monitoring your system's security, you might be better off with a new operating system.

(Image: Nick Perla, Flickr)

Stick it out with Windows XP
As of February, Windows XP still accounted for about half a billion PC users. No one -- not even Microsoft -- thinks all of those people are going to upgrade in time.

Even after the service termination deadline, many people will continue to depend on XP. If your PCs don't use a public Internet connection and are dedicated to only one or two apps, you might not need continued Microsoft support. Upgrading old PCs to newer operating systems can come with their own problems.

But what if you do intend to stick with XP, and continue web browsing, email, social media, and other Internet-reliant activities? What are the risks?

There are several schools of thought, few of them encouraging. Experts believe Windows XP isn't all that secure right now, and that it will inevitably grow less so over time. Some speculate hackers are stockpiling zero-day vulnerabilities, waiting until April 9 to wreak havoc. No smoking-gun evidence of such plots has emerged -- but think about it: If you were a criminal sitting on a bunch of unknown exploits, when would you act? Now, when Microsoft is still on guard? Or in a few weeks, when XP will be a sitting duck?

Some XP diehards point out that the most apocalyptic predictions come from Microsoft and security vendors; that is, people who are selling something. These holdouts reason they can keep using the Internet as long as they take necessary precautions, such as installing malware protection, using Chrome instead of Internet Explorer, and disabling Java and Adobe Flash. Although this will decrease the risks, it doesn't guarantee safety.

Continued XP usage is like driving an old car, says Gartner analyst Michael Silver: It requires diligent maintenance, doesn't offer some of the benefits of new options, and might stop working at any time. It's a fair analogy, but if your old car breaks down, your worst-case scenario is probably walking a few miles. If your XP security fails, your social security number, credit card information, and other sensitive data might be at risk.

If you're unnerved by the prospect of constantly monitoring your system's security, you might be better off with a new operating system.

(Image: Nick Perla, Flickr)

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johnggold
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johnggold,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/25/2014 | 3:27:12 PM
Re: Windows XP
I think that when you talk about defending XP, it is really looking at the problem the wrong way round. In fact you are defending the need to upgrade.

There has to be a benefit to users for an upgrade to be justified. For many users there are threats e.g withdrawal

of security support, but precious few benefits.

In many businesses, PCs are single function - running company specific software, mostly blocked from Internet access.

Windows 7 offers little benefit to those users, so why upgrade.

Many factory machines are networked for data transfer. We see many DOS machines as well as Windows NT, still functioning perfectly well, but now a real pain to connect to the last OS. These machines cannot be upgraded. An XP PC in the server room has to remain as a bridge.

The industry should not forget what happened to IBM, when it tried to force PS2 architecture on a market that just wanted faster PCs and bought Compaq instead, because it offered PCs that were simply faster.

For those users who are really worried about security or have to buy a new PC or laptop, I can thoroughly recommend Classic Shell - a free download that converts Windows 8 to look like XP, Vista or Windows 7, without losing Windows 8 features, as and when you feel the need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Ninja
3/25/2014 | 3:12:38 PM
Re: up grading XP
Google the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor program utility. It is still out there on MS web sites...Download it and run it. It will report what, if anything, will need to be upgraded in order to run Windows 7.
moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Ninja
3/25/2014 | 3:09:59 PM
Data Execution Prevention required for Windows 8?
Michael, please correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you need a motherboard that has a BIOS (or UEFI) that supports DEP (Data Execution Prevention) in order to be able to run Windows 8 or 8.1?

Is that is what is meant by "Secure boot requires firmware that supports UEFI v2.3.1 Errata B and has the Microsoft Windows Certification Authority in the UEFI signature database"?

In other words, CAN you even run Windows 8 without using Secure Boot on a motherboard that does not support DEP?

I've been under the impression THAT was the reason the most logical upgrade for XP folks was Windows 7, not 8.

Thanks,

 

Ross
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
3/25/2014 | 2:52:23 PM
Re: The Windows/Mac crossroads
Michael, I'm curious, what's your take on Microsoft's efforts to move enterprise customers to its cloud subscription model, with Office 365, and how that might play out here if users start considering other OSs?. (Microsoft's subscription plans give users the ability to retain a desktop version of MS's Office suite --  Word, Excel, etc..-- so I presume Microsoft has a big incentive to keep users on some version of Windows OS to operate those offline.)   
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/25/2014 | 2:23:06 PM
Re: Windows XP
Absolutely, many XP computers will continue to run after April, especially in businesses. And that's not necessarily a problem, if those computers aren't connected to the Internet and/or are otherwise receiving their due attention from IT.

But I'd hesitate to say the "real issue" is component degradation. That's not to say it's a bad point—in fact, it's a really good one. I'm constantly amazed that some people put so much effort into defending 12-year-old computers; unless you replace everything inside the machine, at some point, everything starts to slow down or fail. Even if XP keeps working for your needs, the hardware itself is hardly immortal.

But even so, I think the security  risks are a "real issue." Perhaps not for knowledgeable IT folks (or at least I hope not, given how much sensitive information some of them are safeguarding). But for average users who don't ravenously follow technology? For at least some of them, I fear it could be a very real issue.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/25/2014 | 2:15:07 PM
Re: up grading XP
Possibly. Here are the system requirements for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. If your computer is objectively a "good system" by any modern standard, then you have a decent shot.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/25/2014 | 2:07:56 PM
Re: Should I buy Win 7 Pro or Win 7 Ultima?
I'm pretty sure the difference is that Ultimate includes BitLocker and support for more languages, and takes up more drive space. Otherwise, it's essentially the same as Pro. Windows 7 Ultimate is basically a repackaged version of the Enterprise edition that Microsoft sells in volume license deals to businesses.
billcird
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billcird,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/25/2014 | 2:02:20 PM
up grading XP
Can I upgrade my XP to Windows 7, or 8?

Just had it upgraded the past year, so have good system. 

 
codyhalter281
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100%
codyhalter281,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/25/2014 | 1:45:01 PM
Good Info
just as Rebecca said I can't believe that you able to get paid $8327 in four weeks on the computer . site here>
>>>>>> w­w­­w­.­b­a­y­9­1­.­C­ℴ­M
billcird
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0%
billcird,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/25/2014 | 1:31:36 PM
Re: Installing Auto Cad 2000
thanks, will check it out.
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