For twelve years, Windows XP reigned as the most popular operating system on PCs around the world, but earlier this year, Microsoft ended support for the operating system. Not sure what version of Windows you run? Visit this website from Microsoft to help you ascertain your version of Windows.
If you run Windows XP, what does that mean for you? It means that if you continue to use the operating system, your computer is susceptible to viruses and other security risks. Hackers can take advantage of your outdated system and access your business' data. Further, new devices may no longer work with Windows XP.
What should you do? The most affordable option you have is to upgrade your computer's operating system. There are three systems available: Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Vista is not your best choice—it is not popular among business owners and support ends in 2017. You could try Windows 8, but it is not an easy transition as the layout is completely different, and businesses have not yet accepted the operating system. Thus, my recommendation is to upgrade to Windows 7. Extended support continues through 2020, and it gives you and your team more time to acclimate to the changes in digital landscape as desktops, laptops and smartphones converge to help us run our smart offices.
How do you upgrade? Microsoft provides step-by-step instructions to guide you as you upgrade. Make sure you have an external hard drive to backup files, and installation discs for your programs. You may discover during this process that your computer does not meet the requirements to install an upgrade. This is likely if your computer is more than seven years old. If that is the case, it is time to invest in a new computer altogether. If you have to make a purchase, I recommend you check out CNET's product reviews.
The opinions of Jessica Michael are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.