Why Windows XP and Office 2003 are hindering your business

Microsoft has announced that after April 8, 2014, they will no longer be updating or supporting Windows XP and Office 2003.  XP was a great operating system and had served many of our clients for a long time. Office 2003 had the original menu style that was easy and efficient.

So why should you spend your hard earned dollars to upgrade?

Windows XP was released in 2001 and Office 2003 in 2003. If you’re still a diehard user and have them on your workstation I congratulate you. You have probably had the best return on investment of any one of your previous technology purchases. There are however a few reasons why you should consider Windows 7/8 and Office 2013 as alternatives.

Windows XP

At first glance, XP seems like a lean, mean data input machine. It surfs the web, runs most applications and checks email just fine. There are however a few key features in Windows 7 and 8 that will make your staff’s day to day life much more pleasant:

  • Productivity: Windows 7 introduced Aero Snap. Aero Snap allows you to drag a window to the side of the screen for it to maximize its size to exactly half your screen size. You can then drag another window to the other side and voila, you can work on and view two applications at once. This feature seems like a novelty, but once you start using it you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Both Windows 8 and Windows 7 offer 20%+ performance increases over Windows XP and can be used on the same hardware if you don’t want to purchase a new system. Additionally, Windows XP had a limit of 4 Gigabytes of memory (the stuff that allows you to run multiple applications quickly) which no longer exists in Windows 7 and 8.
  • Compatibility: If you buy a new printer you’ll be hard pressed to find a Windows XP driver. Most new devices support Windows 7 and later. The other thing you need to consider are the applications you use. The newer version are designed for Windows 7/8 and take advantage of their features.
  • Touch screen options: Window 8 opens up the world of touch screens to Windows users. Tablets, laptops and even large touchscreen monitors are now an option for your staff. Many of these devices have reduced dramatically in price compared to the older systems.
  • Security: Not to be fear mongering like most people pushing you to upgrade but there is validity here. Once Microsoft ends updates, the next new exploit developed by a 15 year old hacker will go unrepaired for Windows XP users. Your antivirus provides one layer of protection, but it unfortunately won’t stop an exploit in your Operating System.

Office 2003

  • Compatibility: If you’re on Office 2003, you’re probably having a ton of difficulty sending and opening files from most people. The conversion applications will work for the most part but in some cases your left with a weird looking Word document. Upgrading to Office 2013 will save your staff time trying to find out what file type to use.
  • Save and Edit PDFs: One of my favorite features introduced in Office 2007 was the ability to save your Word document as a PDF. Word 2013 has one upped that feature by introducing the ability to provide light modifications to PDFs.
  • Security: I hate to harp on this point again, but Office is a bigger security hole than Windows in my opinion. Some of the largest security breaches this year have been related to older versions of Office being exploited when user preview a file in an email.
  • Cloud integration: The new version of Office has tight integrations into Microsoft Cloud offering Office 365. You can easily save to the Cloud and sync all your files across all your devices.

One thing I’ve learned managing clients’ IT environments is the IT equipment staff use plays a large role in their daily satisfaction. There’s nothing worse than sitting a new team member in front of an antiquated workstation that will drive them crazy every day. Believe me I’ve made the mistake a few times myself 🙂

Give high performing people the right tools and you will get the results your are looking for. Can an upgrade save you and your team 5 minutes a day with added features and performance? I think so.

Grade A is here to help. We have years of experience helping businesses modernize their IT. We recommend upgrading as soon as possible so your business can avoid security risks and to improve your staff’s productivity and daily satisfaction.

To learn more about end of support, feel free to contact our IT experts by phone at 613-721-3331 or by email info@gradea.ca.

Post by Mathew Lafrance, President, Grade A