Windows XP

Microsoft has released a succession of newer versions of its Windows operating system over the years, yet many business (and home) PC users are still using Windows XP, which was replaced back in 2007. Microsoft finally ceased support for XP in April 2014 – meaning that no updates, security patches, bug fixes or Microsoft Security Essentials are now issued for the operating system version.

The risks

  • PCs running Windows XP are highly vulnerable to infection by malware, with criminals being acutely aware of the vulnerability.
  • Such malware could be used by criminals for a number of purposes, including:
    • To steal your organisation’s confidential details in order to commit fraud, espionage and other crimes.
    • To infect your computers and/or network with ransomware.
    • To commit identity theft in order to apply for bank accounts, passports and other facilities in your name.
    • To monitor email and other communications.
    • To make your PCs part of a botnet, commonly used to attack corporate or government websites.
  • Increasing difficulty in getting PCs running Windows XP serviced or repaired, or the software running on them supported.
  • An increasing number of devices and software programs will not work with Windows XP.
  • Unauthorised entry to your information systems, leading to your data being accessed or stolen, non-compliance with insurers’ and/or customers’ standards and breaching the GDPR.

Replacing Windows XP

Before you do any of the following, it is very important that you back up the data on your PC and ensure that it can be accessed and recovered on another machine.

Update your computers

The first, obvious resolution is to install Windows 10. However, very few older computers will be able to run it owing to far more demanding hardware requirements. Microsoft recommends that you download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant to check if your PCs meet the system requirements:

If your PCs are unable to run the newer version of Windows, you will need to purchase new hardware. Today’s PCs are considerably more powerful, lighter in weight and less expensive than their predecessors from ten years ago.

  • If you do purchase new PCs and need to transfer what is on your old Windows XP machines across, you can do so using a free migration tool from Microsoft, which can be downloaded by clicking here.
  • If you want to keep your old PCs and not upgrade, there are other options such as ‘dual booting’ with one of the many versions of the Linux operating system. This would enable you to carry out all online tasks from Linux, and offline tasks like word processing, spreadsheets and photo editing in Windows. This solution does take some time and effort to install, but there are a large number of websites offering advice and guidance.
  • You could also consider changing to new computers running on a different platform, the one most frequently chosen being the Apple Mac with its OSX operating system, or some of the new generation of netbooks such as those using Google’s Chrome, or Microsoft’s own netbook models.

Adopt a migration strategy

Organisations still running Windows XP should urgently adopt a strategy for migration to another platform, which will almost certainly involve possibly considerable investment in new hardware, infrastructure and applications.

There are many options for you if you are considering moving to modern PCs with the latest productivity and collaboration tools. You should talk to a Microsoft Certified Partner to understand the best options to meet your needs. If your PC does not meet system requirements, consider purchasing a new business PC with Windows 10 Pro.

For larger organisations and enterprises, Microsoft offers in-depth technical resources, tools, and expert guidance to ease the deployment and management of Windows, Office and Internet Explorer products and technologies. To learn more about migration and deployment programs, contact your Microsoft sales representative or Certified Microsoft Partner. You can also learn how to pilot and deploy a modern desktop yourself, from the free Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.


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A Glossary of terms used in this article:


An open-source, freely-available operating system.