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The end of Windows XP support is just one reason to make the move to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. If lingering Windows XP systems remain a part of your purview, here are the compelling benefits of moving to modern operating systems — and a quick list of actions you can take to ease the way.
Having enjoyed more than a decade of popularity, Windows XP has had a great run. Yet, despite Microsoft’s recent agreement to provide updates to the anti-malware in Windows XP through July 14, 2015, any PC still running the aging operating system is at risk for expensive data-loss incidents.
Benefits of using a Modern OS
Not only do these Windows XP systems pose security risks, they also prevent the organization from accessing the benefits of a modern operating system. Here are six of the most noteworthy.
When Windows XP debuted in 2001, smartphones, tablets, virtualization, cloud computing, social networking and Web 2.0 were all off in the future. Windows 7 and Windows 8, by contrast, take advantage of the intervening decade of technological innovation, supporting mobility, touch screens, 64-bit architecture, virtualization and a host of other advances. The hardware that companies buy today comes with processors and architecture that cannot run Windows XP. These modern PCs are often thinner, lighter and more reliable than their predecessors and may come with solid state drives that increase speed and decrease power consumption. Deploying these new PCs requires deploying a new OS.
With modern Windows, workers spend less time waiting. For example, Windows 7 boots 29 percent faster than Windows XP, opens files 54 percent faster and resumes from standby mode up to 73 percent faster. Laptops running Windows 7 have 85 percent better battery life than those running Windows XP, which means mobile workers can keep working much longer while on the go. Windows 8 can boot and shut down twice as fast as Windows 7, and resume from standby mode 33 percent faster.
Modern versions of Windows include a number of security enhancements. For example, Windows 7 features kernel patch protection, service hardening, data execution prevention, mandatory integrity levels, Windows Defender, Action Center, BitLocker Drive Encryption and more. Windows 8.1 also features application architecture improvements, picture passwords, Windows To Go, and improvements to DirectAccess and AppLocker. Organizations can further enhance security by selecting a hardware vendor that includes advanced data protection tools such as encryption, authentication and malware protection on its enterprise PCs.
Modern Windows can make it easier for IT staff to do their jobs. For example, the scripting capabilities of Windows 7 let IT automate many common, time-consuming tasks. The OS also includes Windows Troubleshooting Packs, System Restore improvements, a Problem Steps Recorder and improved monitoring.
Users experience an average of 40 percent less downtime with a modern operating system, making workers more productive and reducing help desk costs.
Organizations retaining Windows XP beyond the end-of-support date must pay for custom support, which can cost as much as $200 per PC per year. The older hardware necessary to run Windows XP requires more maintenance, driving support costs even higher. Companies can reduce costs by leveraging the newer operating systems’ built-in security and virtualization instead of paying for third-party software. Of course, deploying a new OS also incurs costs, but an experienced consulting partner hired to assist with the transition can cut those expenses by as much as 55 percent by increasing the maturity level of their deployment processes, according to IDC.
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