As most people should now be aware, Microsoft support for Windows XP ends on Tuesday 8th April 2014, just a few days time. For whatever reason, the less publicised news is that on this date Microsoft are also pulling the plug on Office 2003.
What if you are still using Windows XP or Office 2003?
The obvious thing to do is to either buy a new computer with a modern OEM on it or upgrade your existing computer to Windows 7 or 8.1 and upgrade to Office 2013, but there a lot of people out there that do not like change and want to keep Windows XP.
What about businesses that are using programs that will only work on Windows XP?
The argument is that Microsoft announced the end of support for Windows XP and Office 2003 a long time ago and people and businesses have had more than long enough to sort out their own programs and get an upgrade in place – however we all know in the real world things are always as simple as that.
We are working with a number of businesses that have custom built and old technology software that absolutely will only work on Windows XP even after years of testing and trying to get it to work on Windows 7. It now comes down to the fact that the current machines out in the field cannot be supported by way of Microsoft Updates. This means that IT techs must be on the ball when diagnosing upcoming problems on Windows XP machines and also be very careful when it comes to possible intrusion attacks on these machines – because there will be little or no defence!
Due to the nature of some of the old custom software and technology being used by some companies, IT departments are now having to purchase re-furb laptops with Windows XP as the OEM to make them work. But how will that work in the future? If you purchase a re-furb laptop with a 5-10 year old OEM restore disk you are going to want to make sure that it is at least on Service Pack 3 and has all the Microsoft Updates that it can possibly have to give yourselves at least a fighting chance – but with no Microsoft Updates, how do you do it!?
So what can we do?
Well, its not quite all doom and gloom, there are a few things that you can do. A number of anti-virus companies will carry on releasing definition updates for Windows XP machines.
Also, Microsoft are releasing a number of final Windows XP and Office 2003 updates on Tuesday 8th April 2014 so you must ensure that you have fully updated your machine on this date if you absolutely insist on staying with these products.
Something that everyone should take into consideration is Offline Microsoft Updates. This is a tool that has been developed and been around for a while. You can download the tool, select all the software that you want updates for and it will go off and download all available updates for your selections. This can take a very long time depending on your selections and your internet speed, but it will mean that you will have all Microsoft Updates available to you after the 8th April 2014 so that you can use this tool to update any rebuilt or re-furb machines that you may purchase in the future.
Where can I download Windows Offline Updates Tool?
We would also suggest that if you are using WSUS in your environment that you get this fully up to date and get all your Windows XP and Office 2003 updates downloaded and synchronised in time – before it all becomes too late!
We would love to hear your own thoughts on the expiration of support for Windows XP and Office 2003 so if you have something to add, please leave a comment below using our comments system.
Good luck out there Windows XP users!