Why Your Business Must Switch From Windows XP

windows xp support ends
Microsoft’s marketing campaign

Released on August 24th, 2001, Windows XP is widely regarded as Microsoft’s most successful OS, boasting over 400 million active users at its peak in January 2006. Now almost 12 years old, Microsoft have decided to cease support for Windows XP effective April 8th, 2014.

Continued use of the OS after this date runs the risk of being vulnerable to targeted hacking and eventually incompatibility with newer systems.

So what does the future hold for your business post-Windows XP and what is your best option for continuing a relationship with Windows?

A Future Without Windows XP

Recent changes to the Office suite have been highlighted as major contributing factors to the cessation of support for XP compatible systems. Both Office 365 and Office 2013 are both incompatible with Windows XP, leading many businesses to have already made the switch to newer systems including Windows 7 & 8.

Until recently, Windows XP was the most popular Windows OS, being overtaken in August 2012 by Windows 7. This just goes to show how popular Windows XP was and still is among businesses across the globe.

Named XP as a shortened version of the word eXPerience, Microsoft were keen to emphasise the gains that users were to benefit from with the new Windows. This user experience was clearly more favourable than its successor, Vista. In fact, scores of businesses reverted their upgrades from Vista back to XP, citing slower start up and processing speeds.

With support for XP due to cease early next year, many will be questioning why and what’s next. XP users are set to experience some minor compatibility issues when upgrading, for example a number of browser applications written for IE6 won’t migrate over to Windows 7 and IE8. But the benefits that the upgrade will bring should help your business run faster and smoother.

Windows 7 or Windows 8?

Upgrading to either Windows 7 or 8 is relatively straightforward, though the look and feel is certainly much different to that of XP, especially the latter.

Most businesses will likely upgrade to Windows 7. As we mentioned earlier, it’s now the most popular operating system in the World, holding 44% of the market share. Windows 8, the most recent update holds a mere 5.1%, though it’s important to remember that most IT departments will update their systems every 2-3 years and not necessarily as soon as a new OS is released. Windows 8 was released for business in August 2012.

OS Share

Choosing to run Windows 7 will bring with it a number of advantages. Speed and functionality are at the forefront of the benefits. Faster than both XP and Vista, the OS will see a much improved battery life for your portable devices.

Windows 8 on the other hand has been criticised since its launch late last year. Designed with mobile in mind, the OS is optimised for touchscreen technology. Unfortunately for Microsoft, their flagship touchscreen device, the Surface Tablet has seen less than desirable sales and many have questioned the user interface of the desktop system calling it confusing and a far cry from traditional Microsoft OSes.

Both Windows 7 & 8 work seamlessly with Office 365 and Office 2013 as you would expect. This is a major selling point for your company needing to upgrade too. Enjoy complete compatibility with Office Web Applications, SkyDrive and regular updates to your Office suite. Check out our blog on the benefits of Office 365.

Office web apps allow your business to work collaboratively from any location. No longer are your employees restricted to the one PC in the office, now they are free to roam on a number of wireless devices. It’s clear to see where Microsoft is headed with Windows 8 and they’re almost there.

Office 365 could also save your business money in the long term, allowing you to pay only for the subscriptions that you need. You’ll enjoy updates for Office favourites as and when they happen and not just when you purchase a new suite of the box. Here’s 36.5 reasons to join Office 365.

Don’t Lose Touch

windows 8 upgrades
Windows 8 on a variety of devices

Bringing business into the here and now, Microsoft is embracing touch technology in much the same way that many businesses across the globe are too. Company websites need to be compatible with tablets and smartphones and employees aren’t just working out of one location either. Working with Windows 7 or 8 will be a smarter and more efficient way to get things done and is a step towards realising that we’re living in a mobile World.

Compatible with Office 365 & Web Apps, your employees can benefit from their Office suite across five devices. This means that if that Excel document needs updating when an employee is en route to a meeting, they are able to pull out their smartphone and make the changes on Office 365 for iPhone / iPad or Windows Phone.

In Summary

  • Windows XP will be unsupported from April 2014
  • After this time, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates
  • Windows XP also does not support the latest version of Office, 2013
  • Your upgrade choices are the established Windows 7, or the poorly received Windows 8

If your business needs help with its Windows migration and rollout, Best STL are here to offer expert training and advice to help make the move as smooth as possible. Please get in touch, or find out more on how we can assist with company-wide rollouts. We’ve previously supported large companies while they upgrade Windows and Office simultaneously, including a global pharmaceutical group and a large publishing brand. There are many options to consider to assist your users during a system migration, so talk to an experienced training provider who has been there before.

Should I upgrade to Office 365?

In years gone by, the Microsoft Office Suite would come pre-loaded on your PC or laptop. However, due to a host of market influences including increasing demand for cheaper hardware, many products were boxed and customers were invited to pay only for the applications they needed.

One Office 5 Devices / Microsoft Office

In June 2011, Microsoft launched Office 365, a subscription based service set to benefit everyone. With packages available for personal and business use, you can ensure that you’re not paying for any additional programmes that you won’t use. In return, Microsoft receives regular income each month.

First we’ll have a look at the pricing structure then we’ll discuss exactly what you get in a little more detail and whether you should upgrade your Office suite.

Pricing Model

Whether you’re a small, medium or large sized company, there’s a package to suit your needs. Starting from as little as £39.60 per year / user and peaking at little over £100 per year / user, the tech savvy small business could save some serious money on the subscription model.

Price Plan

Advantages of Office 365

It’ll Save You Money!

If you use the complete Office suite, then upgrading to Office 365 could save you a whole load of cash. Out of the box, you could expect to pay close to £400 for everything, when you could be paying as little as £100 per year / user through Office 365. Plus, there are a few bonus features you’ll receive for adopting the subscription model.

Enjoy Anywhere, Anytime Access

For anyone that hadn’t already guessed by the name, Office 365 is available on any computer, all year round. You’re able to download the suite on up to 5 devices, which is great for the modern professional. Integration with SkyDrive allows you to store data on the cloud and use web based applications of your Office from any computer with internet access.

Work Together Simultaneously

The combination of SharePoint technology and Office 2013 allows you to work more efficiently with collaborative work sheets and more in Office 365. Pick up where you left off elsewhere thanks to intuitive syncing and view the latest revisions made by colleagues with a host of new tools and tips. Web apps are almost a mirror image of the desktop versions, with just a few features trimmed (but little you’ll need to worry about).

Enough Storage For An Epic Hoarder

Epic Hoarder

In addition to the 7GB SkyDrive storage that Microsoft is offering everyone. Premium packages come complete with an additional 20GB (27GB in all). That’s a pretty big thank you.

Enjoy the Latest Technology at Reduced Costs

Rather than wait years for all of the updates to come in one package and knock you for six, Office 365 will update periodically, making the transition between newer versions of Office much easier to digest. Not to mention, you’ll be first in line for great new features that others will need to wait for.

IT Departments Love Office 365

Office 365 is managed much the same way as you’d manage an on premises Exchange environment. Active directory allows IT departments to group people and give them a specific set of permissions (access to email / SharePoint etc). We’ll discuss drawbacks to security later, but a massive lure for IT departments is that Microsoft take care of security giving you one less thing to worry about.

It’s Good To (Video) Talk

Enjoy a whole hour of calls to your business contacts across the globe every month with free Skype minutes. Available on Home Office Premium and most Premium Business services, this is a great incentive for signing up to the subscription model.

How Does The Boxed Alternative Stack Up?


Microsoft typically updates their boxed software every three years. Think Office 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003 & 2000.

For £220, you can grab Office 2013 Home & Business Edition. That’ll give you most of the applications that you love, available on one device, including: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote & Outlook. For an additional £170 (£390), you can include Publisher and Access to those already listed (Office Professional)

So, to do the math, for the comparable package to Office Professional on Office 365 (Small Business Premium), you’d be forking out £302.40 over the 3 years as opposed to £390. Plus, if you were happy to settle for web based applications as opposed to desktop versions, you could get the same service for under £120 (Office 365 – Small Business).

You can argue that nobody updates immediately, meaning you’ll get a little extra bang for your buck, but probably not enough to justify the box price. The only time we’d recommend buying out of the box was if you only use a couple of Office applications. In that case the kitchen sink that comes with Office 365 may not be the best option for you.

100% Owned By You

The same as buying a car outright means that there are no direct debits coming out each month, the boxed versions simply incur a one off payment. All you need to worry about is the insurance, tax and price of petrol (or staff costs, electricity and training – check out Best STL‘s training schedule here).

Sure, it can actually work out more beneficial to get one on finance. Continued support and warranty, plus the guarantee of an upgrade after the lease period expires. Ok, you’ll be paying £200 per month for the foreseeable future, but you’ll have a shiny new car and all the support you could wish for.

If It Ain’t Broken…

With your office ticking over just perfectly should you really go changing your software? Although subscription models seem to be the way of the future, surely we can all savour the moment for a little longer?

Is It Easy To Switch?

Energy. Liverpool, North West.

Yes. Making the change to Office 365 is no different to upgrading your existing package from say 2010 to 2013.

There are of course, more noticeable changes than in regular updates, including the ability to work via web apps and collaborate with colleagues via the cloud. It’s recommended that you offer Microsoft accredited training to your employees to ensure that everyone is up to speed with new features and able to get the most from the package.

What About Security Concerns?

Well, you probably shouldn’t worry too much. The Microsoft has a huge team dedicated to the security of your data. But, vulnerable to attacks or not, they are happening:


Eran Feigenbaum, director of security for Google Apps states that “Any online presence that’s saying they’re not seeing targeted attacks is not being forthright or doesn’t have the insight into what’s going on.” Even Google themselves have seen breaches in Gmail security and to believe that Microsoft is immune would simply be naïve.

Stuart McClure, former McAfee Chief Technology Officer makes a bold statement – choosing a safe (cloud based) service can be like “picking a dog with the least fleas”. Sure it’s a tad sensationalist, but his message is clear, “If you’ve got sensitive data that you don’t want compromised, then don’t put it on the cloud” It sort of makes sense, after all, once on the cloud, it’s no longer being hosted in house – who really owns (or worse still has access to) your data?

In my opinion, I’d say that it pays to be mindful of security concerns but not to let this cloud your decision (excuse the pun).


Office 365 is a robust package that really does offer something for everyone. In terms of pricing, the upgrade is a no brainer. Most subscriptions offer desktop versions of Office, available on 5 devices (that alone blows the boxed model out of the water), plus it also boasts additional SkyDrive storage and Office web apps anywhere, anytime.

Security will always be an issue when talking about cloud storage, however, unless you’re dealing with particularly sensitive data, you’re probably in safe hands with Microsoft’s dedicated security team.

Want to use WordPowerPoint or Excel like a pro? Attend one of Best STL’s training courses available London and UK wide.

Read more: https://www.stl-training.co.uk/b/#ixzz2TBLrM2kW