OK, maybe the allusions to the ‘fiscal cliff’ are a bit cheesy, but Windows XP users do face a deadline of sorts as Microsoft will cease support for their OS in just 18 short months.

Yes, that’s right; on April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP, including security updates and hot fixes.  It means that if you are an XP user at that time, you’ll be on your own and daily you’ll become more vulnerable to hackers, viruses and the like.

Exploits will not be closed (at least by Microsoft) and over time, it’ll make your use of your PC more trouble than its worth.

What will your choices be then?  You could simply live dangerously, abandon desktop computing altogether as you use your Surface 3 more and more, or you could upgrade the OS.

That’s all fine for the consumer, but enterprises still using XP – and there are many still – have to begin planning their migration to Windows 7 or 8 today.  Not tomorrow, but today.

Yes, as of October 2012, the Windows XP market share is still slightly over 22%, many of them businesses.

If you buy Windows 8 before January 31, 2013, you can get the upgrade to Windows 8 for $39. Will there be a cheaper price in future?  Unlikely. So if your your upgrade choice is Windows 8, there may be no better time to buy.

To upgrade your Windows XP computer to Windows 8, it must have:

  • Processor: 1 GHz or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2
  • RAM: 1 GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
  • Win XP with SP 3 installed


You’ll need to run the free Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant to scan your hardware, software, and connected devices to see if they will work with Windows 8.  Once it tells you the drivers you need, you’ll download and install those and be on your way.

For enterprises, Windows 7 is a tempting choice and would have been a no-brainer even 4 months ago.  Now however, Windows 8 is a better choice – more secure, easier to manage, and usable on newer device platforms.

So watch out for the XP ‘technical cliff’ and if your business falls over it, you have absolutely no excuse!

If you are running Windows XP, would you choose Windows 7 or 8 as an upgrade for your business (or home)?  Why?  Share your thoughts in the discussion below?

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