Before 2000, Windows was not great. It had it’s good points, but there wasn’t anything worth writing home about. Windows XP was first the consumer focused operating system built on the Windows NT kernel, generally agreed upon to be more stable and memory efficient than Windows 95/98/98SE/ME. Over time, Windows XP has been shown to require less powerful hardware than Vista and 7, which means it can run on older hardware indefinitely. But below are the reasons it’s time to move on.
1. It’s 10 years old. When Windows XP was released back in 2001, the internet was somewhat safer. Sure, there were viruses and malware, but nothing like the amount currently propagating the Internet. Starting with Windows Vista, Microsoft included Windows Defender to block malware, and enabled it by default. Although Windows Defender (now part of Microsoft Security Essentials) is available for Windows XP, other software is not.
Support for Windows XP may still continue until 2014, but if you’re on any Service Pack other than SP3, you will no longer get software and security updates for Windows.
2. Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft’s latest browser, is not available for Windows XP. It includes recent security updates to block new attack methods being deployed. The exact details of what those are can be considered too technical for our readers, but here’s a general idea.
According to Jeff James on the WindowsITPro site: “Some of the biggest improvements to IE9 came in the form of security and privacy improvements, with the three most significant being enhanced memory protection, improved defense against social-engineering attacks, and a new “pinned sites” features that adds multiple security improvements,” he writes.
3. Windows Live Essentials, Microsoft’s answer to iLife, is not available for Windows XP. Windows Live Essentials includes Windows Live Movie Maker and Windows Live Photo Gallery, which are important tools for users moving beyond simple computer use. Although Windows XP includes an older version of Movie Maker, the changes and updates in Movie Maker 2011 are indicative of advancement in technology over the past 10 years. Windows Live Photo Gallery, for editing and managing photos, has no Windows XP equivalent, and can’t run on the older operating system.
Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report, published in 2011, shows that infection rates for newer Microsoft operating systems with the latest service packs are consistently lower than those for older Operating Systems. Importantly, Windows 64 bit includes a feature called Kernel Patch Protection, which protects the Windows kernel from unauthorized changes. That kind of innovation is a direct result of seeing the effects of attacks on unsecured users using older operating systems.
Although TooDifficult.com is targeted primarily for consumers, this applies equally to corporate users. Needing to purchase new hardware is not an acceptable reason to keep from upgrading.
So if you have Windows XP, start making plans to upgrade in the near future. If you need help or have questions, let me know – I’m glad to help.