By: Will Claney
It’s Dead Jim, It’s Dead
By now, you’ve heard the news, Windows XP is dead and no longer supported, that means an immediate upgrade is in your future. So, what do you do and what do you buy next? Will your applications and files transfer to your new equipment, can you even do that, or will you need to buy everything all over again? Keep in mind the old adage, “when you buy it cheap, you buy it again.”
Microsoft drops support for the 11 year old operating system (O/S) this April and that means you should expect security issues and attacks shortly thereafter. The bad guys know who you are and they will attack. So, that I am clear, if you run Windows XP, “you are screwed.”
Well, if you’re like a lot of Windows XP users this announcement isn’t new, but it is a major pain in the neck because you must migrate everything to a new operating system. Your migration and options thereon are dependent upon your situation, so let’s review a few.
The Lucky Ones
The lucky ones are those who really want a new computer and will buy everything new. Just save your data, pick out your new computer, and restore your data.
For everyone else still running Windows XP you have a journey ahead of you. It starts with hardware. The performance of your old computer must meet the specifications and demands of your new Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 software. If it doesn’t you may need a minor hardware upgrade. For example, most XP equipment is running only 2GB of RAM. You need at least 4GB for this experience to be worthwhile. Your hard disk drive needs to have 100GB of free space.
Do it yourself or let professionals have at it? Today’s upgrades aren’t as simple as dropping a CD into the CD player and waiting for it to finish. Software upgrades involve specific requirements, with minor deviations disallowed. Let’s say you want to upgrade to Windows 7 from XP. You will need to first upgrade to Windows Vista, then to Windows 7 as there is no direct path to 7 from XP. Keep in mind you must “maintain” your bit priority. That means if you run 32 bit Windows XP, you MUST maintain 32 bits. You cannot, for example, upgrade to a 64 bit O/S from 32 bit.
Let’s Get Upgraded
For most of us the upgrade isn’t really an upgrade, but rather a reload of the O/S. That means everything must go because you will “reformat” * your hard drive. Check your configuration and minimum system requirements, save your data first, then format and load either Windows 7 or 8. Next, install your original applications stored on CD’s or the cloud, and replace your data. Here is where I suggest this is a great time to put ALL your data in the Documents sub directory as it makes finding your documents easier and less aggravating when you try to find them when marring your data back to your application. (Think “open file” in your application. ) This way it is easy to find your data files, they’re in the (My) Documents directory.
There you have it. Your journey has already begun, your brain is ready. Oh, by the way, support for Microsoft Office 2003 and older gone as well. Support your local experts, shop locally.
* Reformat means everything is wiped off the hard drive. Nothing will remain – nadda, zip, zilch, naught, zero, nothing, blank.