First Post – Some FAQs

30 November 2014
By Joe Callison

This first post will address some frequently asked questions from fellow computer users.

Can I Continue to Use My Windows XP Computer?
As long as it continues to perform the functions you need it for. Yes, you are exposed to a higher risk of computer viruses, malware, and identity theft, but on the other hand, no system is going to be risk-free. The most likely end of Windows XP will come when you can no longer access a website that requires a later version of Internet Explorer than you can get for Windows XP.  For example, the Kansas website for paying business sales tax requires Internet Explorer version 9 or later (not available for XP)  and does not support Firefox or Chrome alternatives. There are likely other Internet Explorer-only websites for government, business, and financial transactions that will no longer work with Windows XP. If you need to replace hardware connected to your computer, such as a printer, the new one you want may not support Windows XP.

Can I Upgrade My Windows XP Computer?
Possibly, but you probably shouldn’t even if you could because the performance would likely be very unsatisfactory unless you have a really high-end XP computer (fast processor, lots of fast RAM memory, good graphics card). You can download and run a free upgrade advisor from Microsoft to see if your computer, programs, and peripherals would support Windows 7. If your computer will support Windows 7, then it should also support Windows 8.1.

Note that Windows 7 Professional preinstalled on a new computer is the only official way to get a Windows 7 version at this point, though a number of internet companies still sell OEM versions of Windows 7 software. OEM software is intended for PC system builders only and can’t be transferred legally from one computer to another and does not entitle you to Microsoft technical support.

Should I Upgrade My Windows 7 Computer?
Microsoft will support the Windows 7 operating system with patches and security updates until January 14, 2020. Windows 7 is arguably the best operating system from Microsoft to date. My personal choice would be to wait and see if Windows 10 turns out to be a hit and provides a compelling reason to upgrade to before the end of 2019.  Even if it is, I think I would prefer to buy a new computer with a touch screen to run Windows 10.

Should I Buy a New Windows 8.1 Computer or Wait for Windows 10?
Not an easy question. There is not a lot of love yet for the Windows 8 or 8.1 operating system. Many believe that it will be similar to Vista, which was the short-lived buggy development version that led to Windows 7. Windows 8, 8.1, 8.1U could be seen as just short-lived buggy development versions that lead to Windows 10. Rumors that Windows 10 may be a free upgrade for Windows 8.1 users further complicate the decision.  Personally, I don’t expect a free upgrade from Microsoft- discounted, maybe. Windows 8.1 was a free upgrade from Windows 8, but it really should have been considered an update (or Service Pack, which is a collection of updates), not an upgrade. It is common knowledge that Windows 8 was supposed to provide a major step toward one common operating system for all Windows devices (PCs, phones, tablets), and Windows 10 is supposed to finally accomplish that goal and should be a long-lived version. Don’t expect to see Windows 10 released for the retail market before mid-next year.

Posted by Joe Callison


William Buckhannan

With regard to continuing to use Windows XP: I have so far continued to use my old Windows XP computer (with Office 2003) to handle personal files that I want to have minimum exposure to hackers. I do not connect this XP computer to the Internet at all. I presently cannot say this is going to be really useful and satisfactory. And by moving flash drives between this XP and my Windows 7 computer, I may not be fully secure but I do try to minimize this switching. The switching is helped in that Office 2010 on the Windows 7 computer will also load and save documents in the Office 2003 format as long as certain formatting methods are not used. Most of my “data” files are generated with Microsoft Office.

Richard Mindlin

Does SenCom offer help for Apple (MacBook Pro) users?

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