How to prepare for the end of Windows XP support

How to prepare for the end of Windows XP support

Microsoft will end support of its popular Windows XP operating system tomorrow.

Companies that have not moved already moved over to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will be in a more vulnerable position in terms of security.

Michael Silver, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, provided his thoughts on what companies that still have Windows XP within their organisation should do.

He said: “1) Have a plan to get rid of it ASAP.

2) Reduce user rights on the machines, restrict the PC to run only ‘known good’ applications, and minimise web browsing and e-mail use on the PCs.

3) Move critical applications and users to server-based computing. Where users or applications can’t be moved for regular use due to licensing, cost, or capacity issues, have the applications installed for server access in case of emergency.”

There are also a number of key issues that companies must address before moving to a newer operating system.

Silver said: “While most applications now support Windows 7, it’s possible an organisation has very old applications or versions that don’t. Application testing is of paramount concern.

“Organisations need to decide whether to deploy Windows 7 or Windows 8. A migration to Windows 7 will likely be faster, but one to Windows 8 will have more longevity – Windows 7 support ends in January 2020, less than six years away, and organisations that are so late on Windows XP should not get into the same situation with end of Windows 7 support.

“For many, the best alternative would be to deploy Windows 7 for the most critical users and applications now and work to be able to start deploying Windows 8 starting early in 2015.”

In recent weeks, Microsoft has been highlighting how a number of companies across different sectors are migrating to Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Last week, Japanese financial services company Resona Holdings announced it had switched approximately 30,000 client terminals to Windows 8 and Microsoft Office 2013 before XP end of support.

Cumberland Building Society in the UK also upgraded its NCR ATMs to Windows 7 in March.

Compression, automation and drive technology company Hoerbiger Group migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7 with the support of Dell in January.

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