XP - A great operating system nearing the end of its life

Windows XP has been around for over 12 years now and it has been pretty bullet-proof. However,  In April 2014, Microsoft will stop supporting it - see this posting on the Microsoft website. This is what it says:

"You should take action. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:

Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.

Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Hardware Manufacturers support: A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests "many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP in 2011; in 2012, it will become common." And it may stifle access to hardware innovation: Gartner Research further notes that in 2012, most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models."

If you have a Windows XP computer, what are your options? Well, there are four options:

  1. Update to a newer version of Windows. Personally, I wouldn't go down this road. An XP machine will be getting old and it's just not worth the expense of buying and installing a new operating system.
  2. Buy a new one! A decent new Windows 8 laptop will set you back around £400. I'm not a fan of Windows 8, though it can be 'tweaked' to make it more user-friendly. See the link on my 'How To' page, here.
  3. Install a free OS instead or as well as XP. The one I really like is called Elementary OS - See their website here to find out more about it. I've installed it on a few older XP machines and it works really well. This is certainly the cheapest option. Get in touch if you would like me to help you install Elementary.
  4. Buy a Chromebook/Chromebox, a non-windows laptop/desktop. This is a great option for the majority of users. See the next news article.

Chrome OS - Makes Windows computers seem slow, over-complex and expensive!

What do most people do on their computers? Well, all sorts of things, of course! But I would hazard a guess that for the majority of time, most people are using their web browser to look at websites, check emails and use services like Facebook or Twitter. The browser is undoubtedly the most important program on most computers and, these days, a good web browser allows you to achieve almost anything without having to use other programs. 

Enter the Chromebook! A Chromebook (or its desktop version, the Chromebox) is a truly revolutionary type of computer because it only runs one single program - the Chrome web browser. You can't install Word or Skype or indeed any other program. Instead, you do everything inside the web browser. Want to create a document, spreadsheet or presentation? No problem - use Google Docs or  similar web-apps like Zoho Writer. Want to have a Skype-like experience? Use Google Hangouts. Want to edit a picture, a la 'Photoshop'? Use Pixlr.

The fact is, you probably don't need Windows any more and can benefit from moving over to Chrome OS. At the time of writing (December 2013), you can pick up a nice Chromebook from around £180 at PC World or Currys. See this link for details.

If you are unsure how to proceed, do get in touch - details on the 'Contacts' page