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XP: Tell 2 Friends, and So On, and So On

ripI am surprised at how many people still don’t realize Windows XP is going to die….and soon. It had a good run but now it’s time to let it pass quietly into the night. In 6 months, or 26 weeks, or 183 days from now, XP will no longer be supported. That isn’t a lot of time. Spring will be here before we know it, and XP will be gone.

The latest stats show that 50 million PCs still run XP. We need to do a better job of educating users about this issue. During one of my classes last week, 2 of the 9 students had no idea XP was retiring and they’re running small businesses. Why do so few people not realize they need to move off of XP, and worse, how many may not realize it until it’s too late?

So what do we do?

1. Tell everyone! Anytime I have a class or seminar I mention the impending fate of XP.

2. Ask everyone you know to share this. Right after I mention XP (see step 1), I then ask this group to spread the word to anyone they know. You remember the Faberge Shampoo commercial, they tell 2 friends, and so on, and so on, and so on! We need that type of viral promotion for XP’s upcoming demise.

3. Blog, write, tweet, post, etc. Use whatever social network you can to get this information out there.

4. Share whatever blog, tweet, post, etc. from those who have done step 3 to spread the message even further.

5. Much like Faberge Shampoo, lather, rinse, and repeat!

As IT professionals, it is our responsibility to ensure the systems our clients are using are current and up-to-date. If you are still running XP, check out my XP Upgrade Checklist to help you and/or your IT support move your systems forward sooner than later.

XP Upgrade Checklist

XP retires on April 8, 2014. Yes, that is less than a year from today! Don’t be caught in January panicking because you need to migrate all your office systems. Here are 3 customizable checklists (hardware, software, and server hardware) to help keep you organized for the move from XP to a more current operating system:

For more information about moving from XP please see article XP…What’s the Rush.  To download the checklists for Word click XP Upgrade Checklist.

Hardware
Do your current systems meet the Windows 7/8 minimum hardware requirements?

Download and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to easily determine if your current system can support Windows 7/8; or if additional hardware is needed, or a replacement system is required.

Computer Name Meets Minimum Requirements Hardware Upgrade to meet requirements Replace Unit if hardware requirements cannot be met CostsLicensingHardware etc.

Please note: an upgrade from XP to Windows 7/8 will require a full backup of all data prior to upgrading.

Software

Does your current software work on Windows 7/8? Check with your software vendors to confirm that your current software is compatible with Windows 7/8.

Software Name/Vendor Supported on Win7/8 Replacement Software if not supported CostsLicensing, configuration, replacement

Server

Does your current server support Windows 7/8 client systems?

If you are still using Windows Server 2003, it is recommended that you upgrade to at least Windows Server 2008 R2 for Windows 7/8 clients.

Server Name Server Roles Current OS Can be upgraded to new Server Operating system Replacement CostsHardware, OS, backup etc.

Please note that these checklists do not include all options; please consult with your qualified IT professional about the best way to move your small business office to Windows 7/8.

Categories: Small Business IT, XP Tags:

XP – What’s The Rush?

As the end of 2012 approaches, I can’t help but wonder how many companies will be in panic mode this time next year.  You see, XP will no longer be supported as of April 8, 2014.  Right now, that sounds like an eternity, but that year and a bit will fly by faster than you think.  Although Microsoft puts out a great roadmap for XP migration (click here), I find that it’s geared for large businesses, not the small (under 20 users) businesses I deal with.  I also believe that small businesses see no reason to upgrade XP because they are unaware of its expiration date.  To help ease the transition between now and XPs final days, here are some steps to help prepare you:

1. Budget

Replacing several systems and applications can be expensive.  To avoid “sticker shock,” it is advisable that you budget for your migration in advance.  Keep in mind, the average desktop system is $600-$1000, depending on hardware.  Other factors to consider in your budget are IT resource costs and software.

2. Asset Management

Are you aware of what you currently have in-house?  Before considering moving off of XP, you will need to ensure that your current hardware will support Windows 7/8.  From my experience, most of the systems running XP will need to be replaced (stay tuned for a post on reusing your old tech).  Servers and server operating systems/applications should also be included in this inventory.  To avoid any speed bumps in your desktop deployment, make sure your servers are up-to-date and/or compatible.

3. Deployment and Migration

There is no in-place upgrade from XP to the newer operating systems.  This means all the data will need to be migrated manually to a new system, or replaced on an upgraded system.  Depending on the amount of data and files, and the age of the hardware, this could take several hours per system.

4. Scheduling a Qualified IT Professional

Let’s face it: companies are going to leave the XP migration until the last possible moment.  The problem with this is that because it will have been left so late, there may not be enough time to successfully transition to a new environment.  Even if you do have enough time to do this, the rates may be higher than 6 months before.  To avoid inflated prices, schedule a qualified IT Professional in advance.

5. Replacing or updating older applications

All of the applications currently in use on your XP systems will have to be validated for the new operating system.  If an application is now longer supported or available an alternative will have to be found and tested.  If replacing the application is not an option, then rewriting the code may be the answer and this will take time.

6. Testing

To ensure your systems will be compatible with the new applications and environment, it is highly recommended that you test everything before you move forward.  To do this properly, replicate your hardware and software requirements as closely as possible during your testing phase.

7. Cleaning up

Now that you have replaced all of your older systems, you can’t just throw them away.  Before donating or if necessary pitching your old equipment, the systems need to be wiped of any data to prevent anyone from recovering your company data.  This process can takes several hours per system but it is highly recommended and advised.

8. User Training

The gap between XP and Windows 7/8 is very significant.  To ensure the transition is successful, users may need to be taught how to use the new operating system and applications.  Click here for my Windows 8 “user” experience.

I hope this convinces you to look at your current systems and start planning to move from XP to a newer, more secure operating system.  If you have any questions about how to move forward contact your qualified IT Professional and they can help you develop a roadmap that will help you and your team transition from old to new technology.

These guidelines are based on a typical deployment for a small business that is transitioning from XP to Windows 7/8.  Please talk to your qualified IT Pro for a customized and successful shift from old tech to new tech.

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