Should I upgrade my Operating System?

The simple answer to this question, is YES! But we need to delve a little deeper in explaining the benefits, especially with the potential cost outlay for your business.

Many people are still running their desktop computers on trusty old Windows XP. Well why not? It’s stable and it just works. Earlier this year, figures showed that there was a greater percentage of people still running XP than Windows 8 and 8.1 combined. However, there is a serious downside to running an older operating system.

Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP in mid-2014. This means that there were no further updates released when support was discontinued. This leaves your operating system extremely vulnerable in a security sense. Updates plug security loopholes as they are discovered, but without these updates, you are at risk of having your data compromised and exploited. This is especially crucial for business users. Indeed, some industries that are regulated, are required to upgrade when support for an operating system ceases.

An even more crucial update, comes in the form of your server operating system. Earlier this year, Microsoft stopped supporting its Server 2003 operating system. If you are still using this in your business, your data will be at serious risk from intrusion.

Some continue to use older operating systems as they have older software applications that their business relies upon. Will my software work with a newer operating system, or do I need to upgrade that also? The good news here, is that an upgrade to an application may not be necessary. Newer operating systems still allow older applications to run ‘in XP mode’.

So what are the benefits to upgrading? It’s not just about the increased data security. Newer operating systems are far better at taking full advantage of the better hardware on offer these days. This means that systems are faster and more reliable, being less prone to ‘freezing’ or ‘crashing’. More recent operating systems have far better features. Systems boot times are faster. Network connections are quicker and easier, including connecting to network printers. Power options work better than ever, meaning you can not only save time, but the energy your system uses. You’ll find that productivity is increased with more efficient use of time and resources.

Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or Windows 10, which one do I choose? The answer to upgrading isn’t always as costly as just upgrading ‘blindly’ every time a new version is released. Microsoft continue their support for many years and it’s usually best to wait until an operating system becomes proven in regular use. Windows 7 is such a proven operating system, in much the same way as was XP. Many people were not convinced by Windows 8, hence the swift release of 8.1 to address some of the issues that users didn’t like. Although Windows 10 is fairly new, we like the look of this release. As for your server operating system; Server 2008 R2 has worked really well for a number of years, but why not try out the great features of Server 2012 R2? The upgrade you choose will depend on your business needs, and of course, the cost. At Bimotech, we can advise on all the pros and cons and help you with your choice. Why not make it something you factor into your business plan for 2016? We’ll be pleased to help!

For more simple, helpful IT news and support, follow us on Twitter @Bimotechltd

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