The End of XP: Your Options for a New Computer
by Allan Hoffman, Staples Contributing Writer
Do you own a business with computers running Windows XP? Youre not alone. And now you and others like you need to start thinking about new computing equipment sooner rather than later.
Thats the blunt truth, even if you (or your employees) love XP and dont really want to abandon it. Microsoft ended support for XP on April 8, 2014, and have encouraged all users to buy new computers running a version of its latest operating system, Windows 8 or at least to upgrade to a more current operating system. Specifically, this means:
You may say your current computers wont work with later versions of Microsofts operating system. (Quite possibly true.) You may argue that XPs got everything you need. (Also a valid point.) None of that matters. Since Microsoft no longer issues security updates and patches, computers running XP are vulnerable.
Think you can risk it? Dont. Now is the time to evaluate your needs and decide between the myriad options now available in the post-PC era. In fact, theres never been a better time to buy a computer. Aside from Windows laptop and desktop computers, there are Windows tablets and iPad® and Android devices. You may even consider a Chromebook. Depending on what your business requires, you may even decide to have a mix of several of these in your workplace.
Lets start with the Windows options. After all, you know your employees are familiar with how Windows works; the transition may be easier if you stick with a known operating system, even with the differences in more current versions.
That said, youll need to make a choice between Windows 7 and Windows 8 (well, now its 8.1). Opting for Windows 8 might seem like a no-brainer, except for this reason: The Windows 8 interface is a complete revamp, and many find the adjustment to Windows 8 jarring, especially if moving from XP. Windows 7 will be far more familiar to your employees and will require less training.
A PC World article noted a trend here, with this headline: As businesses flee the coming XPocalypse, theyre turning to Windows 7, not 8. If you do opt for Windows 7, just be sure its a computer thats capable of running Windows 8, as youll likely want (or need) to upgrade in the future.
Consider these Windows options:
Moving Beyond Windows
Its possible you may want to move beyond Windows, especially if your employees rely on cloud-based services to communicate and share documents. Here are some suggestions:
Whatever choice you make, be sure to consult your workers and, in particular, any IT support personnel before you decide. In the XP days, employees often didnt have strong preferences for computers, but now with computing devices of all sorts, from tablets to smartphones, embedded in our daily lives your workers will surely have their own opinions about the computers theyll be using at work.