I’m sure a few of you, maybe more, will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day today. There will also be a fair number of you filling out your March Madness brackets. Others may be trying to get their taxes finished as corporate taxes for US companies are due today.
For some of you there is something else that needs to be on your agenda NOW! Are you running Windows XP? You need to upgrade NOW! Are you running Microsoft Office 2003? You need to upgrade NOW!
Below are some of the posts I’ve already written on the subject. Let’s be clear, the last security update for Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 will come on April 8, 2014. After that, the hackers will do everything they can to compromise the systems of anyone running either of those products.
- Put a Plan in Place Now to Upgrade From Windows XP
- Preparing To Move Computer From Windows XP to Windows 8.1
- Upgrade Before Microsoft Office 2003 Support Ends in April 2014
- One More Reason To Leave Windows XP Soon
Let’s first focus on those of you using Windows XP. Maybe you have a piece of equipment that doesn’t have drivers for anything newer. That is the only reason I can justify in keeping Windows XP running on a computer. For that computer, it not only needs to be disconnected from the Internet but also from your internal network. Just relying on anti-virus software will help fend off the bad guys, but they will find a way to get through.
There is no easy upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8/8.1. You have to install and start from scratch. Some of you may prefer to jump to a Mac or a Linux machine. It is certainly an option and the pathway is no easier. My personal feeling is that your best choice is to move to Windows 8.1 and hide the silly Metro interface by installing a utility like Start8. I described this in Five of My First Thoughts on Windows 8.1. You can still get Windows 7 pre-installed on computers so it is an option if you have no desire to go to Windows 8. The most important thing is to get off of Windows XP.
For those of you using Microsoft Office 2003, you can certainly move to a newer version of Microsoft Office. I personally use both Office 2010 and Office 2013 and am happy with both versions. For those who don’t like the cost of Microsoft Office or simply want to get away from it, there are other office suites from which to choose. For me, Microsoft’s offering is far and away the best and I’m sure some of you will disagree. Whatever you choose, just do something to move away from Office 2003.
I know some of you have put off these upgrades as long as possible. You can’t wait any longer so take action NOW before you find your systems infected by the bad guys. For those who already have newer versions of Windows and/or Microsoft Office, take a few minutes and make sure you have all security updates installed and that you have a solid product in place for anti-virus and anti-malware.