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THIS week sees the last batch of bug fixes and security patches that Microsoft will issue for Windows XP. After April 8th, computers using the 13-year-old operating system will continue to work just fine, but all technical support for XP—whether paid or otherwise—will cease. In a change of heart, Microsoft has at least agreed to continue issuing updates for its Security Essentials malware engine, which runs on XP, until July 2015. Apart from that, users who continue to rely on the thing will be on their own—at the mercy of mischief-makers everywhere.

windows-xp-imageWe don’t exactly think that it’s going to be the end of the world for XP at the moment, but if I were an enterprising hacker, I WOULD be focusing on Windows XP for a while to see if I could find a new vector into the venerable XP platform.  Sort of like the cops telling the burglars that they’ve left the building for good – “Have a good time!”  Yeah, that’s where I would be focusing.  Now, whether or not hackers actually find anything good?  That’s another story.

So Should You Upgrade?

Yes, you will want to upgrade in the near future. Not maybe today or tomorrow – as there will likely be better things to upgrade TO in the short-term.

But to what? For those determined to stay in the Microsoft camp, forget Windows 8 or 8.1. Not only do they demand too much in the way of hardware, both have been been written off as a debacle as bad as the Windows Vista disaster. With their touch-based design, they require users to do things differently from the way they are familiar with. Microsoft is now hurrying out Windows 9 in a bid to pre-empt a mass migration to Linux or Macintosh.

We suggest Windows 7, though manufacturers have switched primarily to foisting the new red-headed stepchild of computer operating systems, Windows 8, onto anything and everything.  Windows 7 is still available as a direct purchase that can be installed as an upgrade if your hardware will support it. If not, then maybe wait a little longer.  We’re heartily encouraged by the above line about hurrying out Windows 9.  Windows 8 is such a… such a.. such crap for a desktop machine.  Not sure what kind of group they had do their UI testing, but obviously no one from “old school” had much of a say.  I wish they would have gotten someone like my mother in the testing.  There WOULD be a different interface today on Windows 8.

Should You Switch Your OS?

Forget the old Tareyton cigarette ad, “I’d rather fight than switch…”  It might just be a great time to switch rather than fight.  And Mac OS is always a strong contender.  I am more familiar with the Linux distros currently making the rounds though – especially Ubuntu.  The article referenced at the bottom names 3 distributions – Ubuntu, LinuxMint and Zorin.  After seeing this, I am moved to try LinuxMint.  Linux versions mentioned here are all free – which alleviates that 100-200 dollar expense of a new Windows license.

I personally really like Ubuntu as a desktop. The interface makes good sense, albeit requiring a little shift in thought patterns when moving away from Windows. Things are all about where you’d expect them in handy menus (depending on your interface positionings of course). Some of the titles and programs you use to access certain functionality don’t align specifically with those things that you are used to finding in Windows, but the functionality is there all the way.

The thing to keep in mind though should you decide to switch – what kind of applications DO you use? And is there a good Linux replacement for it?  If you use the standard desktop apps – email, web browsing, “Office” style suites and the like – yes, those functionalities are all there. You can find that kind of software with little problem.  Going back to good ol’ Mom, she’d probably be fine with a Linux distro.

The problem will come when you need some utility programs that you just can’t live without. As a web dev and SEO guy, I use all sorts of little apps that do a number of things for me that there likely will NOT be a replacement for via a Linux app.  If you’re particularly handy with a code editor, you might write your OWN app – odds are good someone else is waiting for EXACTLY the functionality that you would create before THEY move to Linux.   But, we’re not all coders. And we likely don’t have the time to write these apps.  We sort of need them on a daily basis right now.  So tempting as the switch rather than fight direction is, in many cases, it will just not work 🙁 Sadly.

But if your needs are mainstream and modest, it’s SURE worth a little investigating!  

Read the full article from The Economist below!

End of the road for Windows XP – The Economist (blog)

http://news.google.com Thu, 10 Apr 2014 08:03:44 GMT

End of the road for Windows XPThe Economist (blog)THIS week sees the last batch of bug fixes and security patches that Microsoft will issue for Windows XP. After April 8th, computers using the 13-year-old operating system will continue to work just f …

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