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3/25/2014
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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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Image: cooling999, deviantart.com
Image: cooling999, deviantart.com

You've held out a long time, brave Windows XP user. Maybe you joined the XP game in 2007, when you steered clear of Windows Vista. Or maybe you've been using XP since the operating system debuted all the way back in 2001, when many of today's youngest Microsoft employees weren't even in high school.

Security experts have chided your hesitancy to upgrade. Microsoft, which is now tempting XP users with $100 off Windows 8.1 devices, has been practically begging you to move along. Your PC takes 10 minutes to boot up. It relies on components that are outclassed by what's inside your average smartphone, let alone the latest PCs. But you've remained unmoved by these bells and whistles. Let's give credit where it's due: In an age when the newest, flashiest devices have become status symbols, your resistance to new tech is impressive.

[How will Windows XP's end-of-service deadline affect government IT? Read Windows XP: Feds Brace for End of Support.]

Yes, you might be getting by with XP because you're also using a smartphone or tablet. Or you might still be using your antiquated PC for almost all your computing needs, just as you have for years. Maybe you've replaced a hard drive here or there to keep everything up and running. But as long as your computer still boots, you've been determined to squeeze every drop of life out of it, the alleged benefits of newer, shinier machines be damned. For today's wired youths, you are the technology equivalent of walking uphill both ways in the snow, and there is some virtue in that.

But nothing lasts forever. Whether you've delayed upgrade for reasons of principled austerity or financial necessity, your day of reckoning is almost here. On April 8, Windows XP will officially become an unsupported operating system. Unless you're a big company willing to shell out millions for extended support, Microsoft will no longer update your XP machines or protect them from new cyberthreats. Right or wrong, like it or not, if you're running XP, it's time to make a decision.

Based on the reader emails we've received in recent weeks, a lot of people are approaching this decision with uncertainty: "Do I really need to upgrade? And if so, to what?"

The answers are fairly simple. No, you don't have to upgrade, but if you have to ask, you probably should. If you want the option that's closest to Windows XP, Windows 7 is probably the best bet. If you use your XP machine primarily for email and the Internet, literally any modern replacement device, tablets included, will be adequate. If you also do moderately heavy word processing, anything with a keyboard will suffice, although smaller devices might be more cramped than you're used to.

Beyond these basic guidelines, let your individual needs, sensibilities, and budget guide you. We've broken down the pros and cons of various upgrade options. Which one will you choose? Have you already made a decision? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section below.  

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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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: Strategist
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: Strategist
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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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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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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