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Windows XP end of life and Windows 7 / Windows 8 migration

A guide for migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8

More than 12 years after its release, Windows XP is at the end of its life, at least in terms of support. Microsoft has released a few operating systems since then but many organizations have stuck with XP. For one thing, Vista was as unpopular as XP is popular. Also, most older computers just don’t have the guts, hardware-wise, to run the newer Microsoft systems. Whatever the reasons, though, support is ending and if you’re running XP, you’re going to have to move, make some major changes or pay the price. To the rescue: Our guide to XP end of life and Windows 7 / Windows 8 migration.

Table of Contents
What you need to know about Windows XP end of life
What are the risks of putting off migration?
Advice and tips on planning your migration
The move: Migrating to Windows 7 or Windows 8
After the dust settles

What you need to know about Windows XP end of life

Here’s what Microsoft will no longer be offering: “…no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.” Read on to see what all that might mean for your organization.

Options for Windows XP end of life
In this era of reduced budgets and staffing, you might have been putting off an operating system refresh -- but you can’t wait much longer. Here are four directions you can take.

Microsoft to offer Windows XP antivirus updates past April 2014
Although Microsoft will still provide Windows XP antivirus updates until July 2015, that doesn’t mean that your system will be safe.

Letting Windows XP support go: Why it’s time to start OS migration
In 2013, Gabe Knuth explained why most shops really needed to migrate. The situation has only gotten more urgent, of course.

What to do next: Windows XP end of support
Support for Windows XP is ending, but there are thousands of applications that cannot be moved to a newer OS because they are incompatible. Here are a few options.

After Windows XP end of life, choose VDI or migration
Even after the Windows XP end of support, many IT shops still use the OS. Virtual desktops and custom support can help, but is it time to bite the migration bullet?


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What are the risks of putting off migration?

Despite ample and specific warning, many organizations are not planning to migrate. Read on to see what all that might mean for your organization.

With Windows XP security updates ending, enterprises must plan ahead
What’s the potential of failing to move off Windows XP? Security experts from Sophos warn of the potential “XPocapypse.”

Failure to migrate from XP could torpedo your business
What can you do to keep a secure Windows-based environment running, if your installed base (or any significant proportion of it) remains on XP?

Windows XP end of support: What are the risks for users?
If the projections are accurate, many enterprises will still be running XP-based systems after support ends – but doing so could prove to be risky business.

How Windows XP end of life will affect your desktop applications
It’s not just the OS that will no longer be supported -- any software designed to run on XP will be unsupported as well. And you can be sure that hackers are readying malware to exploit unsupported XP systems and XP apps when support ends.

IT shops put off Windows XP migration to Windows 7, Windows 8
Some shops are lagging and that is likely to cause problems. For instance, bug fixes or security patches will no longer be available for Windows XP, which could make Windows XP desktops and laptops vulnerable to security threats.

Firms not ready for Windows XP end of life could face compliance risks
The case for migration only grows more compelling: No support for software issues, increased security risks – and then there’s that little matter of regulatory compliance.

How Windows XP end of life conflicts with PCI DSS requirement 6.2
The short story? If an organization continues to run the Windows XP operating system after its end of life, that organization will no longer be compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard(PCI DSS).

Where will XP stalwarts go after the end of Windows XP support?
Despite the end of Microsoft's Windows XP support, many IT shops are sticking with the OS, and there are third-party options for security support.


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Advice and tips on planning your migration

No one said it would be easy but careful planning can smooth the path. The first thing you need to know is if your systems are up to the task. Then see what your options are and plan your next moves.

FAQ: Windows 7 hardware requirements and compatibility
Windows expert Ed Tittel outlines Windows 7 hardware requirements and answers other frequently asked questions on Windows 7 compatibility. (Listen to the podcast or read the text version.)

Windows XP upgrade planning: Preparing for Windows XP end of life
Organizations must start looking at improving protection for XP-based applications and devices while finalizing plans to move away from XP. Michael Cobb offers advice.

Stick with Windows 7 migration, Windows 8 is too risky
According to Gartner, it’s wiser to migrate to Windows 7 rather than make the leap to Windows 8.

Users don't care if you upgrade to Windows 8
To many users, Windows 8 just isn't a big deal. Workers are fine with using Windows 7, and many people find the Windows 8 interface hard to use on desktops with traditional mouse and keyboard setups.

Application compatibility in Windows 8 XP Mode
In Windows 7, XP Mode eased application-compatibility problems, but that's not the case in Windows 8. There is no XP Mode for Windows 8, so restoring backward compatibility for legacy applications requires using virtual machines.

Planning a migration from Windows XP to Windows 7
For a number of reasons, many organizations are choosing to migrate to Windows 7. Brien Posey offers migration tips.

Don't let misconceptions about Windows 8 hamper migration
Opinions differ: Windows 8 is the OS everyone loves to hate, but it's fast and has enhancements that can help employees be more productive.

Windows 8 migration station
Everyone knows migrations are no small task, and a Windows 8 migration is certainly not an exception to the rule. Because it's such a time-consuming (and potentially costly) project, there are some basic things you should consider before you jump into a Windows 8 migration

Before a Windows 8 migration, see whether the new OS is a good fit
IT shops that think a Windows 8 upgrade might be worthwhile should look at four key areas: where Windows 8 fits into the enterprise, how to handle legacy applications in the new OS, tools to use for the migration and details about licensing. 

Windows 8 - the challenge of moving to a new operating system
In summary, if you are embarking on a Windows 8 migration project, don't underestimate the size and complexity of the task and make process considerations a top priority.


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The move: Migrating to Windows 7 or Windows 8

The decision's been made, you've done your research and planned your migration from Windows XP. We offer a collection of tips and tools to help you get through the process as painlessly as possible.

Windows XP migration tools help IT ward off upgrade hassles
The OS still has some hardcore supporters, but Windows XP migration tools can help pave the way for users to access legacy Web-based data and apps.

Ten essentials for enterprise desktop migrations to Windows 7
While one desktop migration isn't that bad, what happens when the process needs to be repeated hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of times?

Checklist for upgrading from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7
Whether you're migrating a few desktops or hundreds, there are certain steps you can follow to ensure a smooth, problem-free transition.

Windows XP migration tools cut albatross from IT's neck
Symantec, Microsoft, Kaseya and many other vendors offer deployment and lifecycle endpoint management products to help Windows XP migrations, but it's an update from Dell Software that looks to automate the process in bulk.

Best practices for a Windows XP migration to Windows 7 or Windows 8
There are several ways an enterprise can ready itself for a Windows XP migration to a newer OS. First: Collect information to get the bigger picture on what has to be done to move a company forward.

Browsium throws lifeline to XP users
Browser emulators, like Browsium, can support Web apps to help get you through migration.

A guide to Windows 7 migration tools
While migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 is no easy task, there are several tools from Microsoft and third-party vendors that can help.

Avoid potholes on path for XP migration to Windows 8.1
Organizations moving from Windows XP should consider app compatibility, security and alternative OSes before conducting a migration to Windows 8.1.

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After the dust settles

You’ve made it through – what comes next? User training, system integration and hopes for the future.

An enterprise guide to Windows XP security after end of updates for XP
It's over. Now what? Learn whether it's possible to secure Windows XP without security updates, and get advice for jump-starting your migration plan.

Four lessons learned from deploying Windows 7
What important hardware-related lessons have IT admins learned from deploying Windows 7? For example, you might not always need a total refresh, disks are still the bottleneck and multiple monitors can boost productivity.

Guide to converting from Windows XP to Windows 7
For the many users coming from XP to Windows 7, it's a huge change. This handy conversion guide will help power users find their way around the new system.

Windows XP death expected to resuscitate the PC industry
Despite the pain and strife of XP end of life, there’s an upside: More PC sales. Among other things, most older computers don’t have the capacity to run Windows 7 or 8.

Is Windows 7 your last Windows desktop migration?
Here’s the good news: By the time Microsoft's Windows 7 support expires in 2020, the face of computing may have changed so much that the large-scale Windows desktop migration may be a thing of the past.

New tools in Windows 8
Many of the native tools in Windows 8 carry over from Windows 7, but there are some brand new ones such as File History, ISO support, Sync Settings and the Reset Tool.

Don't like your Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade? Go back to Windows 7
Downgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 7 is difficult, but doable. Consider licensing and supportability, perform a hardware and software inventory, make a backup of each desktop configuration (and test it), and reconfigure your machine's BIOS. Voila! You're done.


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This was last updated in February 2014
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