Monday, April 7, 2014

What should you do about the end of Windows XP?

I continue to be asked by friends and acquaintenances what they should do about Microsoft Windows XP reaching the end of support.  My answer is short and sweet.

If you love Microsoft Windows, then find a good deal on a new laptop or desktop and find a friend or service to help you migrate your data from the old computer to the new one.  I also encourage them to upgrade to Windows 8.1 so they have the option to preserve some familiarity to Windows XP.  I keep an eye out for laptops and you often can find a decent new Lenovo or Toshiba at for $350 or less.  You can also get great deals on season close outs a local retailers as well.

For those wanting to find a new Windows based laptop, I have a few more words of advice.

  1. If all you really want to do is surf the web, do email, and watch movies, you may be much better served long term to just get a Tablet (Microsoft Surface, Apple iPad or Android...).  Tablets are much easier to carry around and typically have much better battery life.
  2. If you plan to buy a laptop, one thing that has changed over time with the intervening versions of Windows and the malware protective software required together with Windows to keep Windows safe have raised the minimum amount of memory (aka Random Access Memory or RAM) required to at least 2-3GB.  Therefore, if you are doing basic word processing, watch Netflix, 4GB of RAM should be sufficient.  However, if you plan to run memory intensive applications like video editing software, Logos or run virtual machines, you will need at least 6GB of RAM and possibly more depending on the demands of the mix of applications you plan to run.
  3. If you plan to run a virtual desktop through Microsoft VM, VMWare Fusion or VirtualBox, be sure that your computer is sized to add at least 2-4GB for the virtual machine and also be sure that you have at least 100-500GB reserved for snapshots or copies of the VM so that you have safe versions to revert to in the event that something goes wrong with the VM.

If on the other hand, you are ready for a change or just want more of a long term return on your investment, I encourage you to consider purchasing an Apple Mac.  One great thing about going the Mac route is that you can run Windows on your Mac so that you can have the best of both worlds.  When or if your Windows gets infected with a virus or malware, you can just revert to snapshot or archive copy of the Windows virtual machine image.  MacMall does a great job of offering new Mac's that are pre-installed with the latest version of Windows via the Parallels virtual machine desktop software.  If you want to know more about my perspective on the total cost of Apple Mac ownership, I've already written about that here.

I hope this helps your decision making process.

Blessings to you.