By Asavin Wattanajantra, writer at Metia.




Windows XP was born in 2001 – which remarkably makes it almost a teenager! Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about avoiding those difficult teenage years?

What was technology like at the beginning of the millennium? Well for a start there were no smartphones or consumer devices with the accessible touchscreens of today. It would be a few years before we even considered using our fingertips to do fun stuff. It was also the year of the first Xbox, Microsoft’s move into the area previously dominated by the likes of Sony, Sega and Nintendo.

For most people email was the sole online communications tool, the web existed solely for consuming websites and a small number of technical forums offered the merest glimpse of the social media revolution that was to follow.

Technology has changed beyond recognition since Windows XP was launched, but for many businesses, amazingly, it is still a central part of their IT structure. XP worked superbly for so many organisations it pretty much created a cult following. Numerous updates over the years made it stable and reliable enough to last this long.

But technology evolves and will continue to do so. Next April we'll be ending support for Windows XP, as well as Office 2003. Very simply, they don’t match up to the requirements of today’s businesses. You're demanding technology that fits the way you work inside and outside of the workplace, as well as the capability to handle the security and compliance challenges of today. XP and Office 2003, which have been around more than a decade, simply aren't up to the task any longer.

Importantly, ending support means no security updates, which inherently means Windows XP users will be open to security and compliance risks.

However, this is an excellent opportunity to think about what Windows 8.1 and Office 365 can do for you, particularly if you're looking to do a general upgrade of your IT.

Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 has been created with the future in mind, with really interesting features making it a good choice for consumers and businesses.

  • It's a reimagined form of Windows, but you won't find it unfamiliar - there's a new Start screen which allows you to launch apps and find the desktop
  • It's built for modern business, meaning you can be connected everywhere. A fantastic new feature called Windows To Go allows you to stick Windows on a USB, making it possible to work efficiently on any device
  • You’ve got a set of in-built apps for email, calendaring, social networking and photos. If you want any more apps you have the fast-growing Windows store to choose from
  • Windows 8.1 is touch-screen friendly, built for a world of smartphones and tablets. And if you're using a laptop or desktop PC, it still delivers a great user experience.

Office 365

This is built for the modern workplace, and allows employees to use their favourite applications, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, on any device.

· With Office 365 there will be no large one off payments. It’s provided on a monthly fee, per user plan

· Users will be able to access Office 365 applications on browsers and devices with the same features and functionality as on their PCs and laptops.

· With always-on protection and automatic updates, there is no need to for you to spend time updating the software – and it comes with a financially backed 99% uptime guarantee.

How to upgrade

With six months to go, hopefully you’ve made plans for the move. If you haven’t, you better move fast – start planning and get the business involved, as an unsupported system is open to attackers. You’ll also need to figure out if your Windows XP apps will work on Windows 8.1, and whether you need to new hardware to run the new software on. If in doubt, contact a Microsoft accredited reseller which should be able to give you some valuable advice over Windows XP migration.

It’s always sad to wave goodbye to a reliable old friend, but the advantages of upgrading to a newer model are clear to see.