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The Clock is ticking are you ready?

Posted by Stephen Almeida on 20 May 2013 | 0 Comments

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Yes it is that time again for many organizations!! If you are one of the many still using Windows XP or Office 2003, then it is time to upgrade.  Microsoft will discontinue extended support for these old reliables as of April 2014. The minute support is discontinued many organizations will no longer be compliant with many Federal & State regulations (i.e. Sarbanes-Oxley, MA 201 CMR 17, etc.)


*For the remainder of this text we will focus on Windows XP.  Not because Office 2003 is any less important, instead we want to keep this narrative as simple as possible.


Many organizations have already made the switch to Windows 7 (or shudder the thought, Windows 8.)  Some of these moves were precipitated by the need to purchase new hardware, or software packages required updated OS’s.  Depending on the survey consulted, between 20%-74% of workplace users are still using the Windows XP platform.  There are many reasons for this, including:

1) Businesses are conservative.  They have spent a fortune on infrastructure, hardware and software and support.  They want/need to maximize their return on investment;

2) Upgrading results in expected and unexpected costs

3) Windwos XP has been reliable, and predictable, almost out of the box

4) Firms spent many man hours, and money, creating regulatory plans and procedures.  They wanted to put off starting square one with a new OS for as long as possible

5) If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it


The end of life isn’t unexpected, but now the date is final – April 8, 2014. Microsoft has tweaked their lifecycle policies over the years to help make them more predictable for companies and user’s alike. Feel free to read Microsoft’s own words to help you get a handle on their lifecycle policy. Click here to learn more.


So what does this mean for your Windows XP organization? Here is a 20,000 foot view checklist to get you started:

1)       If you haven’t yet begun your planning, you are way behind!  The average enterprise deployment can take anywhere between 18-32 months. Decisions need to be made fast if you are starting now.  Begin with which OS you are going to settle on – Windows 7 or Windows 8.  There are compelling reasons for either of them, but we will address this in a later blog entry.

2)      After deciding on the OS, now comes the testing phase. To do this correctly you need to painstakingly test all of your hardware & software to ensure compatibility.  If there are any incompatibilities then you must address how you are going to solve these issues.

3)      Once the incompatibilities are resolved, now comes the fun part – building your plans on how to migrate end user data, settings and software to the new platform.  For some smaller enterprises, it may simply require a manual process on each system.  But in the case of larger enterprises, many tests need to be performed to perfect automated scripts and unattended processes.

4)      Finally once all of this fun is completed comes the actual migration & the issues that will arise in the heat of the battle.  Even under the best of circumstances there will always be a surprise or two.

5)      But wait, that’s not all.  Now you have to train users on the new OS and answer the questions that start with, “well before you messed things up, I was able to do….”


So as you can see, April 2014 is NOT a lot of time to complete all of these steps.  So don’t delay begin to Think, Plan & Execute to ensure your organization survives this important migration.


Contact Almeida & Associates to learn more.