If you are one of the many organisations that are still using MS Windows XP, hopefully with Support Package 3 (SP3), take into consideration that Microsoft will end the official support on 08 April 2014. This does not means that you are forced to upgrade or that your computer will not work after that date. End of support implies that Microsoft will no longer be producing software and security updates for Windows XP after April 2014, which might leave you at risk if new vulnerabilities are discovered.
An important issue to consider when upgrading the operating system is software compatibility for all your desktop applications. Some older ones might still work whereas other tools will require updating or upgrading, with their associated cost.
This may be a good opportunity to review your IT strategy and compare different options to replace your workstations, taking in consideration current trends and tools available. On the applications side, most of them work in multiple platforms or run in any browser, so you are no longer “locked-in” with a specific brand or vendor. Include in your analysis mobile and cloud based options. Consider also open source based alternatives, such as running a Linux based Operating System with free desktop office software, since these options have evolved from being only for techies to familiar graphic user friendly environments.
One word of caution, moving to a different platform from the one you are familiar might have some unexpected consequences, such as file format compatibility both from you historical archive and with files that you share with your business associates. It is recommended to perform tests before committing to a new technology or get technical assistance.
Apex Academic Technology offers specialized, platform-agnostic advice about desktop strategy as well as the capability to set up pilot environments to test and compare different solutions.