“It’s the end of the world as we know it…” REM 1987
Microsoft recently announced that it will no longer be supporting Windows XP after April 8, 2014. This is known as the Windows XP End Of Life date.
After many years of patches, three service packs and other issues including no further Internet Explorer versions past 8, Windows XP has reached it’s end of life. Office 2003 is also slated for end of life on that same date.
While it is estimated that 30% of all the computers on Earth are still running this operating system, Microsoft made the decision to pull the plug.
Well, let’s face it. Most of the hardware from the Windows XP era is running Pentium 4 chips and is underpowered when it comes to the newest operating systems and software products like Adobe’s Photoshop.
Manufacturers of the latest hardware are no engineering parts for these older systems. Try getting a new AGP Video card for your system. That technology has long since been left behind for the newer and more efficient cards sold today.
Many of these XP computers have outlived their estimates for life after 9-13 years. Yeah, I know, it still boots and most of my clients HATE change. The average lifespan of a computer is estimated to be 3-5 years. With care and replacement parts, that can be extended, but today try finding brand new IDE drives for a 9 year old XP machine.
These systems also came with 512MB – 1GB of RAM, and Windows XP in it’s 32 bit version can only theoretically utilize up to 3.5 GB. The 64 bit version of XP never really took off and there were very few programs that were written to take advantage of the 64-bit system, especially drivers needed to make the hardware work.
What’s the difference between the 32-bit and 64-bit? It’s basically the amount of data the main chip can handle when processing instructions. The larger the data path, the more information it can process at one time. This is why 64-bit operating systems can also address larger amounts of RAM and are not limited at 3-4GB of RAM.
Most newer computers have motherboards and chipsets that handle 64-bit operating systems – some can handle up to 1TB of RAM! That’s a TERABYTE…the scale goes from bytes, kilobytes (thousands), megabytes (millions), gigabytes (millions) to terabytes (billions). One bit is either a “one” or a “zero”. A byte is EIGHT bits. The next level is petabyte and you guessed it – trillions.
When I got started in computers, the chips were 8-bit architecture and we used floppy disks to boot them up and run programs by typing commands into a prompt. Ahem, no questions on my age, please….
Today computers sold with the Intel Core series chips handle the newest levels of operating systems. Windows 7 64-bit is also one of the most popular operating systems and Microsoft is trying to get consumers onto Windows 8.
Windows 8 takes the concept of a smartphone running a Windows based operating system and mashes it into a computer. For some, this is OK and they can work with it. However, the new operating system eliminates support for the free email accounts most of my clients have from Time Warner and Verizon. It only handles one type of email account and most of my clients have avoided Windows 8 – even returning the computers only to have me fix the older Windows 7 computer.
NOW WHAT, SCOTT?
But there’s a silver lining: if your computer has one of the newer chips (Dual Core / 64 bit) and was able to handle Windows Vista, then you might benefit from an upgrade to Windows 7. The upgrades are getting a bit harder to find as Microsoft pushes Windows 8 into the retail and distribution channels.
There are a few different paths you can take for your Windows XP computer, depending on the chipset in it and the maximum memory it will take on the motherboard.
First; if your computer is already more than 5-7 years old, it might be time to get a new one and have me transfer the data. As they get older, more problems can start occurring and parts get harder to find. It also take more time to repair as they are slower than newer computers.
Second: if your computer has a “Vista Capable” sticker, there is a chance that it might be upgradable to Windows 7 or 8 with the addition of memory. Now if you have a hard drive with less than 250GB of space, such as the earlier XP/Vista computers, then you have to factor in the cost of an additional hard drive, more memory, the upgrade to the operating system and if I am doing that, the cost of that upgrade at my shop. Maybe a new box would be best….
Third: some of my clients have moved to MacBooks and iMacs with great success even with the slight learning curve of the Mac operating system. Data is transferrable and the Apple store can sometimes do that. Most clients just drop everything off and give me a few days to get it completed at my shop.
Fourth: I was at my distributor’s tech show last week and got to talk with reps about this conundrum. Customers truly are not happy with Windows 8 and currently, Lenovo and Dell are offering computers with licensing for Windows 8 with downgrade rights to Windows 7 or with just Windows 7. I have been recommending Dell for years and have worked on Lenovo’s for clients. Both are excellent choices whether laptop or desktop.
As for that monitor from the early 2000′s, the newer monitors are more energy efficient, have better resolution and can handle the faster video cards with better refresh rates.
So, here’s a couple of deals if you are staying on the Windows side of life and want to upgrade to a new computer:
Dell still has Windows 7 deals at this link. I say go with the highest memory you can get and the best processor you can afford, Dell or Lenovo.
Lenovo has sent me a list of their business class products with Windows 7. Some come with 3 year warranties and some have only one.
Here are a few;
4 GB RAM – 500 GB HDD – DVD-Writer – NVIDIA, Intel GeForce GT 730M, HD 4600 – Windows 7 Professional 64-bit – 1600 x 900 Display – Bluetooth – 3 year warranty mail-in
4 GB RAM – 500 GB HDD – DVD-Writer – Intel HD 4600 – Windows 7 Professional 64-bit – 3 year warranty
Call for availability and if you have any questions regarding your specific computer and how I can be of service to you!
firstname.lastname@example.org / 760-550-9496
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