January 05, 2013

End of Support

Most of you may have heard or possibly vaguely noticed in passing, Windows is retiring the Win XP operating system.  You may not have known they are also retiring Office 2003 since that gets far less notice.

Support Ends April 8, 2014

If you don't use these things, it's not an issue for you.  However, for those still using either Windows XP or Office 2003, this means all security patches will cease on that date.  If you are using older systems like Win ME or 98 or even 95 or earlier...  Or any office product older than 2003... it's very likely your system has been compromised. 

The problem is, once security updates stop, there are so many holes left wide open that can allow attackers to compromise a system just because it is connected to the internet. You don't have to "do" something to get yourself owned.  

Therefore, if you are using an older system, it is time to think about upgrading. You must also think about whether you want Windows 7 or 8.  

Windows 7 support will be around until 2020.  It's been out 3 years and is well regarded as being stable and a good running system.  It has been the most secure of all the Windows systems to date with hackers now going after peripheral software rather than the OS itself to attack the system.  It has the best set of drivers available for legacy hardware. 

Windows 8 has been built primarily with touch screens in mind.  Like Vista, this is a departure from the previous model of OS and it will therefore have problems.  For people new to buying computer stuff this will not be a huge problem.  For those who need older stuff to work, they may encounter issues while everything shakes out. For those who remember the horrid growing pains of Vista, this will be something you want to avoid. 

Remember, if you want to upgrade and you wait until early 2014 to do it, you may not be able to find Windows 7 if that is your preference.  Right now you have a choice. 

For Office software, just upgrade.  Either bite the bullet and buy new Windows Office software, or grab a free copy of Open Office or Libre Office.  They will both do the job although they are slightly different than Windows Office.  I have used Open Office and I must say it's okay, not great.  My husband has used Libre Office and finds he likes it better than Open Office.  YMMV, you can try either or both of them and if they don't work for you, then shell out the cash for a newer Windows Office.

Now is the time to think about this if you have hung onto your old computer stuff.  This is a time when upgrading your system is the better part of valor.  Those of us who don't like being spammed or having botnets out there thank you for not contributing to the general irritations of computing life.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 01:53 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 I tend to hang onto my computers like I hang onto cars - until they blow up.  Just a few months ago I retired my wife's system running Windows 2000, and my venerable old desktop runs XP, which it will until the day it dies.  I have two laptops in the house that run Windows 7 but one needs a new motherboard and the other needs a new screen.  Any computers (desktop or laptop) in the near future that I get will have Win 7 on them, I never liked Vista and it'll be a long time before Win 8 is worthwhile to me since I have no plans in the near future for an iPhone or iPad.  I tend to stay behind on technology until they become mainstream and proven after several years. 

Posted by: diamond dave at January 08, 2013 01:25 PM (getU/)

2 Yes, I know all about hanging onto stuff a LONG time.  My husband is still using a couple of old laptops from about 9 years ago.  Not with the original OS though.

For old computers where the OS is not being kept up on security, consider grabbing something like Ubuntu linux or even Mint linux.  Far more secure and even user friendly.  And on old hardware it runs faster than the old Windows stuff does.   You can burn the .iso to a CD and then boot from that to be sure it will work with all your hardware without even installing it.  Nice touch on their part. 

Posted by: Teresa at January 08, 2013 10:38 PM (hJwgq)

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