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End of Support Countdown for Windows XP and Office 2003

The life span of many Microsoft products is maximized at ten years.  Windows XP and Office 2003 are not exceptions, and the end of support for these two products is now about four short months away, in April 2014.

The Windows operating systems have three upgraded versions since XP was launched: Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 (four, if you count Windows 8.1).  The Office suite has been upgraded three times; Office 2007, 2010, and 2013.  The current versions of both the operating system and the Office suite are markedly different from the retiring products in almost all respects; security, functionality, and productivity among them.

The end of support means that Microsoft will no longer issue patches or updates to Windows XP or Office 2003 after April 2014.  Older technology has a greater vulnerability to malware and other cyber-attacks.  While it is well past time to update from these products on the basis of productivity, continuing to use them once they become more vulnerable to malicious exploits is not recommended.

If you know of a business still running these products, have them contact us.  We can guide them through the upgrade process, and help them realize the benefits of running on the latest technology.   

Why Does Windows XP Take So Long to Load?

Windows XP can take a long time to load; the oldest versions can sometimes languish for up to an hour on startup.  Microsoft has identified the culprit – it is none other than Windows Update, Microsoft’s automatic patching service.  The manner in which Windows Update is configured means that each successive monthly update causes the operating system to process all prior updates cumulatively every time the operating system starts.  At first, and for quite a while, the difference in negligible and barely noticeable.  But soon enough, load times start to be five seconds, ten seconds, and before long it is minutes, and then many minutes.

Microsoft attempted to correct this cumulative loading issue in each of the two most recent updates; November and December.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work as expected and XP users are still suffering through very slow start ups.  The real question is whether the issue will be resolved for XP before April – after which there won’t be any more updates (we suspect it will).  If someone chooses to continue using Windows XP after the end-of-support date, it is pretty much guarantee that not only will performance never get better, it will likely only get worse.



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