Be ready for the end of Windows XP

Be ready for the end of Windows XP

With less than a month to go before Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows XP, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should have made plans to switch to a newer operating system.

After support for Windows XP ends on April 8, users still running the old XP operating system face increased security risks, higher costs and lack of technical support.

But for many SMEs with little or no IT budget, upgrading every last computer can be daunting, especially if the job falls on a single employee or the business owner himself.

The upgrading process requires you to know which computers are running Windows XP and how to migrate them to a newer operating system, or whether you need to buy new devices.

To ease the transition, here is a checklist which covers the key steps to take to be ready well before April 8.

Evaluate your hardware needs: First, check if you are running Windows XP. You can do this by downloading the upgrade assistant at

If you are still on XP, it is likely that you are using an older desktop PC or notebook. Those machines did a great job providing a powerful Windows XP experience, but technology has improved dramatically since then.

Older hardware is not designed to support a modern operating system such as Windows 8.1 or the mobile demands of the modern workforce.

Since Windows 8 was launched, PC makers have built a variety of new devices which offer more choices. Most Windows 8.1 laptops come with touch displays which offer quick access to Windows 8's touch-based apps to meet the power and productivity needs of a mobile workforce.

Also, look out for Windows 8.1 hybrid devices which are capable of switching between laptop and tablet modes to suit your work patterns.

In addition to great mobile form factors, the choices of modern desktop computers are better than ever.

New all-in-one desktops in the Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge Series will give you a full-power desktop without taking up too much space.

If you are looking for maximum horsepower, check out the HP Z820 workstation for running high-end computing and visualisation applications.

But before buying a new PC, evaluate the special offers targeted at businesses that are upgrading from Windows XP.

Also, consider applying for the taxman's Productivity and Innovation Credit, which offers 400 per cent tax deduction or allowances and/or 60 per cent cash payout for investments in innovation and productivity improvements.

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