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Procrastinators: Read This! Upgrade Windows XP

by Pegeen Turner |

I love to procrastinate. You may be in the same boat. However, if your procrastination has you still using Windows XP, you need to know that Microsoft will end Windows XP support in April 2014.

When Windows XP launched in 2001, it was a revolutionary step forward in Windows operating systems. It was well accepted and more stable than previous versions. Unfortunately, Windows XP is still alive and kicking in law firms today. Recent studies have shown that 38% of all PCs are still running Windows XP. Since the operating system was so popular, many law firms have stuck with it. However; Microsoft will end support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 have better security and reliability. In 2009, Windows 7 launched with a great combination of the functionality of Windows XP and the security features of Windows Vista. It was safe and secure and it is still a good option for computers today.

In 2012, Windows 8 came on the scene. If you have bought a new computer recently, it was most likely installed with Windows 8. However, many law firms are staying with Windows 7 until some updates are put in place like the return of the Start button with the release of Windows 8.1 in October 2013.

With six months to go before the end of life, you still have plenty of time to upgrade your computers but don’t delay.

What this means to you: After Microsoft ends support for Windows XP, your firm’s Windows XP computers will no longer receive updates from Microsoft for security or bug fixes. Without these updates, these computers will likely be targets for hackers and susceptible to malware that can exploit issues that Microsoft has not fixed.

What can you do: Firms can upgrade from Windows XP to new computers with a choice of two different operating systems, Windows 7 and Windows 8:

  • Windows 7 (Professional preferably) is available through online vendors like Dell and Lenovo. Only online retailers give you the option to choose to have Windows 7 installed on your new computer.
  • Windows 8 (Professional preferably) is available through any physical or online retailer. This is the default operating system for any new computer today.

Upgrading your Windows XP machine to Windows 7 or Windows 8 may be an option for some newer computers. Click on the link for the Windows Upgrade Advisor to help you determine if your XP computer can run Windows 7 or Windows 8.

What should you buy: Typically, firms buy laptops for attorneys and desktops for staff. Some general specifications for new computers are below:

  • Laptops – Intel i5 or i7 processor, 14 inch screen, at least 8 GB of memory (RAM), 500 GB hard drive or 256GB solid state drive (SSD) and DVD-RW. Good options for business laptops are below:
    • Lenovo laptops – Thinkpad T series
    • Dell laptops – Latitude E6400 series
  • Desktops - Intel i5 or i7 processor, at least 8 GB of memory (RAM), 500 GB hard drive or 256GB solid state drive (SSD) and DVD-RW. Good options for business desktops are below:
    • Lenovo desktop – ThinkCentre M series
    • Dell desktops – OptiPlex 3000 series

When should you switch: The time is now. Switching computers is never easy, but Microsoft has made it easier using software like Windows Easy Transfer. This program allows you to transfer data from one computer to another. Plus, if you buy new computers before the end of the year, your firm can use it as a tax deduction.

Upgrade your Windows XP computers now and leave the procrastination to your Holiday shopping.

Pegeen Turner is the President of Legal Cloud Technology, a Raleigh-based legal technology firm. Her firm works with small and medium-sized law firms as they start-up as well as firms that need help maintaining and integrating legal technology into their practice. In addition, she helps firms understand the risks of cloud computing and how to incorporate cloud computing into their practice. pturner@legalcloudtechnology.com, www.legalcloudtechnology.com, @pegeenturner