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Replace Windows XP Era Software Now

November 21, 2013

If you’re one of the small businesses still running some flavor of Office 2003 or Windows XP, you should be making plans to upgrade to one of the latest versions of  those Microsoft products.

Microsoft will end support for  Windows XP and Office 2003 come April 8, 2014. That’s less than five months away and not a lot of time to plan an upgrade if you have line of business applications or peripherals that need the older programs.

Upgrading is not always a simple matter of plugging a new computer with the upgraded software into the same spot as the old one, particularly when your old software is two or three generations old.

The transition must be planned with your software developers, and your line of business applications, email and peripherals.

Failure to figure out the potential incompatibilities beforehand could cause massive headaches once the new software has been installed.

And then there is the cost. If you have to upgrade Windows XP and Microsoft Office, you’re looking at a significant investment that you may not have anticipated.

It’s unlikely, for instance, that you can just upgrade your existing computer to the latest Windows operating systems (Windows 7 or Windows 8) because your existing hardware probably won’t run the newer OS’s. You may have old peripherals, like printers and scanners, that don’t work with Windows 7 or 8.

You should also figure in time to learn the new operating system, and if you’re upgrading from Office 2003, allow a good bit of time to become accustomed to the new interfaces in Office 2010 or Office 2013.

In addition, if you’re running some version of Windows Server 2003, you should consider upgrading your server at the same time, even though Extended Support for Server 2003 doesn’t end until July 2015.

And what happens if you don’t upgrade?

Count on hackers exploiting your network and possibly costing you money, downtime and productivity, potential fines if your industry must adhere to state or federal regulations, and potentially your business.

If you’re still running one of those old Windows products, don’t hesitate to start planning your upgrades. The time to do this is NOW if you want a smooth transition.

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