April 8th, 2014 is the beginning of the end for Windows XP and Office 2003. Why? Microsoft wants to move forward with their newer product offerings and they want you to too. Simple as that. These are twelve year old software products. So, for those of you who are tempted to call foul think about all those microwaves and coffee makers you’ve bought over the years. When did they quit working on you? Ten bucks says it was a fraction of 12 years. Maybe planned obsolescence isn’t great, but it isn’t unique to Microsoft.

However, 30% of internet-connected PCs are still running Windows XP for one reason or another. That is a non-trivial number and anecdotally I can tell you the majority of businesses I talk to still have XP running on a subset of computers, some of which still play essential roles in their operations and are used everyday.

Do you still have Windows XP or Office 2003 in your IT environment?

If so I highly recommend you read Chris Hoffman’s article “How to keep your PC secure when Microsoft ends Windows XP support” published on February 28th, 2014 by PCWorld. Chris does an excellent job of laying out what it all means and, specifically, what you can do about it.

Finished with Chris’s article?

Now you’ve got some decisions to make. As Chris mentions you can insulate your exposure by keeping any XP machines unconnected from the internet, increase security by using a non-administrator account when using them, uninstall software with higher security risks like Java, or replace the software completely with something else.

Want some short-term help?

If you want someone who knows a lot about technology to help you with this project, but aren’t looking for a long-term partner then Newmind probably isn’t a good fit, but there are plenty of options. As Chris’s article related now is the time.

Want a long-term partnership?

I believe that deep relationships are always better than quick in-and-out fixes. Open communication and long-term interaction leads to better solutions that aren’t forced or predetermined. I value completely supporting my clients, not monthly bucket hours. As you approach WinXP in your organization take time to understand planned obsolescence and how your organization approaches this inevitability and use it as an opportunity to create a more effective device strategy.