Windows XP expired: Now What?

tnt-bomb-gualtiero-boffi-300x300Microsoft Windows XP is set (again) to expire, this time we are told it is for certain. The date is April 2014. Their beloved 10 year old Windows computers will no longer get Microsoft Security updates and they will be open to hackers.  So what’s a business to do?

Well, there are several options on the table, some of which may not be obvious.

  • You can simply upgrade the RAM to two gigabytes and install a Windows 7 upgrade.You can keep all your old Microsoft software and stay at the Microsoft feeding trough for years to come. A computer re-cycling company in your community may be an aggressively cost-efficient way of getting such RAM upgrades — $1 a chip instead of $25-$50 a chip.
  • You can reevaluate your computer hardware choices in light of your current and projected future needs, and possibly buy new hardware of a different type than you now use.
  • You can also opt for purchasing new NetBooks such as the Google Chrome Book series of small computers, or maybe tablets with a few docks (such as the Microsoft Surface) would provide both the mobility that you want and a normal working keyboard, monitor, and mouse in the office.
  • You can also install any of several versions of Linux on your existing hardware, or even boot that hardware, unaltered, from a USB memory stick with Linux installed on the stick. This last option will leave your computers unaltered with full access to all their files in Linux and Windows XP. This will also let you try as many Linux Distributions as you like to find the “right” one for you, all without loosing your Windows XP!

 

Dead disk platters from Windows Server 2012R2

Dead disk platters from Windows Server 2012R2

This article in Network World discusses some Linux options. We have been dual booting between Microsoft and Linux for a decade now, and frankly, with the except of sparse cases where Microsoft Office is requisite, Linux has served us better with fewer headaches. We now reserve the Microsoft Windows for Office 2010 and on-line gaming: Linux does everything else with fewer concerns about viruses, updates, obsolescence, and reliability.