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SBDC Business Continuity Alert: Microsoft Ending Support for Windows XP

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Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are notifying all small businesses that Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014.  After that date, Microsoft will no longer provide technical assistance for Windows XP and Office 2003, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. According to Microsoft, more than 20 percent of small businesses are still using the XP platform, which Microsoft first introduced in 2001.

What does this mean for businesses running Windows XP?

  1. There will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates. 
  2. Without critical security updates, PCs could become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage business data and information.
  3. Anti-virus software will not be able to fully protect PCs running Windows XP once the OS is no longer supported.
  4. Businesses that continue to run Windows XP after support ends may be exposed to potential security threats, and may even risk breaching compliance standards depending on the industry in which they operate.

How can businesses stay protected?

To stay protected after support ends April 8, small businesses have two options:

  1. Upgrade their current PC: Very few older computers will be able to run Windows 8.1, which is the latest version of Windows. Businesses may want to download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant to check if their PC meets the system requirements for Windows 8.1 and then follow the steps in the tutorial to upgrade if their PC is able. For more detailed information, read the FAQ.
    1. Download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant
    2. Tutorial: Upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Windows XP
  1. Get a new PC: If their current PC can't run Windows 8.1, it might be time to consider shopping for a new one. The average price of a PC is considerably less expensive than the average PC was 10 years ago.

What does it mean if my version of Windows is no longer supported?

Which version of Windows am I running?

Pennsylvania SBDC business continuity & survival services available to small businesses include confidential consulting on topics such as creating business continuity plans, assessing cloud services and data back-up, and growing sales through new markets to diversify revenue streams.  Small businesses interested in personalized no-fee consulting on critical business areas should contact their local SBDC for assistance.