Microsoft announced earlier this year that they would be ending their support for Windows XP, likely in a move to push businesses and home PC users to move forward to its newer operating systems. The operating system has been around since 2002, which makes it one of the longest lived operating systems in history. Ending support for the operating systems means no more updates, no more support for software, and no more protection from cyber attacks without using a third-party protection system. While it does make sense to move forward with the rapidly evolving world of technology, for some it may not be so easy. XP was an operating system that was easy to implement and simple enough for people without much computer experience to learn. On top of that, it is still in use by many businesses, including banks. Over ninety-five percent of ATMs across the globe are still running on the soon to be dead operating system. Although the Microsoft Corporation wants to urge Windows XP users to move forward, the issue they need to deal with is that the operating system serves as the backbone for more than just an office or a home PC.
For personal users, updating their operating system is just a purchase away. However, because of XP’s very user-friendly interface and currently widespread usage even home PC users may find themselves holding onto the operating system, impeding their own progress into the modern world. Because of how fast technology grows, especially today as nearly everything is tied to either the internet or a computer of some sort, insisting on utilizing an operating system that has long since been obsolete is the equivalent of insisting on banging flint over brush to start a fire when there is a healthy supply of matches readily available within one’s reach. All three of Microsoft’s newer operating systems are just as easy to adjust to as Windows XP was to learn, it is simply an issue of dealing with the clearly problematic ten minutes it would take to figure out that a new operating system is not a jigsaw puzzle, and is easy to learn when approached without a stubborn mind.
Although the switch may come easy for home users, for a business, switching operating systems is a lengthy, grueling process. Imagine one of the many companies that currently has employees trained only in Windows XP, Microsoft cutting off support the operating system means that the company wanting to update will likely need to go through an entire corporate process of updating the machines, costing them valuable time and money for the updates and the training sessions. For smaller businesses this is likely going to be an expensive endeavor, and for larger and more corporate-oriented businesses the cost will likely be measured in the time it takes to get the company fully up to speed. It is important for a business to remember however, that training a new operating session ultimately boils down to the people being trained. A grumpy, stubborn XP user is not going to adjust well, whether it is necessary or not. Unfortunately, the Windows XP transition issue is not limited to just what goes on in the office. Cash registers, ATMs, and the like will need to upgrade eventually to prevent security vulnerabilities. It is likely that Windows XP will be around for quite some time, even after Microsoft cuts off support of the operating systems.
Opinion by Michael Foster