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Published: October 16th, 2013

It may soon be the end of Windows XP – but that could spell the beginning of new relationships with customers looking to migrate away from their outdated operating systems (OS).

With Microsoft Corp. set to stop supporting Windows XP on April 8, 2014, channel partners, managed service providers (MSPs), and resellers have probably been telling their customers to move on.

We held a Twitter chat on Oct. 31 at the hashtag #CDNwinXP, discussing the merits of upgrading to another OS and the pitfalls of continuing to run Windows XP. We also benefited from the insights of guest experts Brian Bourne of CMS Consulting, as well as Microsoft Canada’s James Nicholson and Derrick Valenzuela.

Here’s a recap of what we learned during our chat.

  • Why are so many companies slow to make the move away from Windows XP?
  • A lot of Twitter chat participants had similar thoughts on this. Not only is it expensive to switch over all of your data and applications from existing legacy applications, but it’s also a lot of work. And some people are slow to embrace change.

    • What are some of the advantages of moving to a modern OS that partners should stress with their clients?
    • Some of the advantages include greater security for PCs, by way of Microsoft providing patches and updates, as well as support. But also businesses can take advantages of better productivity apps on an updated OS.

    • What are some of the risks of staying on an unsupported OS?
    • The biggest one is opening up PCs to zero-day attacks and vulnerabilities from hackers, participants said.

    • What different challenges do SMBs and enterprise face in migrating away from Windows XP?
    • For many SMBs, the problem has to do with resources, money, a limited IT department, and training employees to use a new OS.

    • Is moving to a modern OS just about software, or is there a hardware and services opportunity for partners as well?
    • Twitter chat participants agreed partners should really be talking to their customers about the possibilities once they’ve migrated away from Windows XP – for example, touch capabilities with Windows 8.1. There was also a question raised about data loss.

    • Which OS should resellers guide SMBs and enterprise companies to choose?
    • For businesses primarily running Windows, there was some debate over whether Windows 7 or Windows 8 would better suit organizations’ needs.

    • How much will Windows 8.1 influence businesses to move away from Windows XP?
    • Some Twitter users indicated fear was a strong motivator. There’s also a possibility that some businesses may just want to pay extra for continued Windows XP support. Others just like the features Windows 8.1 has to offer, but some may opt for Windows 7 as they are more familiar with it.

    • Any tips or tools for resellers and MSPs to help customers have a smoother transition from WindowsXP?
    • Most Twitter chat participants felt it’s important for channel partners to communicate effectively with their customers and explain why they need to update. It’s also crucial to have a well-formed plan.

      Essentially, everyone agreed – if businesses haven’t transitioned away from Windows XP already, it’s time to get a move on as the end of support date draws nearer.

      Stay tuned for our next Twitter chat! We’ll post updates for the next one on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our site.

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