Monday, July 19, 2010

End Of An Era: Goodbye Windows 2000, XP SP2 and Vista

An era has ended it appears. An era in the Microsoft centered world of computers at least. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s not that I am bemoaning this fact, not at all!

With the end of update support for above mentioned Windows versions Microsoft applies pressure on the holdout community that IMHO not only lives in dangerous surroundings but thus potentially endangers everybody else. How so? These technically obsolete systems will most likely become hosts to malicious software that from this almost safe heaven will attempt to get into other machines as well.

I have been asked why someone would still want to run something like Windows 2000? The answer in most cases is surprisingly simple: Old application software!

Companies can fall into this trap if at the managerial level they either don’t see the need to keep the IT infrastructure up-to-date or can not update due to financial constraints. The former reason seems to me to be more of a philosophical (and/or educational?) problem, the latter being due to insufficient budgeting and planning. Over my four and a half decades in IT I have seen this scenario all too often.

Small home office and normal home users IMHO fall into this trap mostly because they got used to using some old piece of software and/or were unwilling to upgrade earlier when they were reminded.

The world of computers is likely the fastest changing field of technology ever. It appears that we are not yet adapted to thinking in update and maintenance cycles. So here is my $0.02 worth on updating from my side of the fence:

  • Computers should be updated, that is exchanged for a new one, about every five years. Depending on technical circumstances like what hardware is in a machine or what new operating system has just been released (Windows 7!) even only three years may be reasonable.
  • The operating system always and continually has to be kept up-to-date. If you are still running Windows 2000 then the time to buy a new computer is now, no matter what!
  • Critical application software has to be kept up-to-date as well. If this requires a new operating system and/or a new computer then so be it, period.

If you can’t keep up in Chicago rush hour traffic on the interstate with your nice old Ford Model T then you are endangering yourself and others! Either get off the road or get a car that can keep up in these conditions, sorry!

As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.

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