Many small businesses are clinging to ancient Windows XP computers in the belief that they are saving money by putting off the cost of replacing them. Typically the old computers have been passed down to the lower level employees – the ones who actually do the work – while the partners and owners and managers sit at their new Windows 7 desktops.
It’s time to say goodbye to Windows XP. It’s past time. You’re doing yourself and your employees a disservice. You’re losing productivity and causing frustration.
Almost two years ago I strongly urged the replacement of all the computers purchased in 2004 and 2005, the Dell Dimension 2400 and Dimension 3000 boxes, the old Compaqs and eMachines, the old homebuilts, and anything beige. They were already slow and failing then.
Lat year it became obvious that Windows XP computers were unsafe compared to Windows 7, in addition to being insufferably slow.
Here we are in 2012 and I still see old Windows XP computers wheezing under desks in law firms and small businesses, and I’m still asked all too frequently if there’s anything I can do to speed them up.
The answer is no. No more ambiguity, no more taking a look to see if housekeeping will help. The hard drives or fans or power supplies or memory will fail. Programs are likely to be crashing, stumbling on years of debris – years and years of security updates and patches and upgrades and forgotten programs and old drivers and corrupted files and leftover traces of that malware attack from last year and more. New programs might not run on Windows XP, or they’ll break something else. Your next printer or scanner might not run on Windows XP and there won’t be anything to do about it.
They’re slow. They’re so slow that your employees are spending huge amounts of time every hour, every day, waiting, waiting, waiting for a program to open or a screen to refresh or a web site to load. More memory doesn’t help, not any more. Defragging the hard drive? Fuhgeddaboutit.
A Dell Optiplex 390 or Vostro 470 with a nice 23” E2310 widescreen monitor and Office 2010 Home & Business (and maybe a copy of Acrobat X Standard included in a promotional bundle) costs just under a thousand dollars. It takes me a fraction of the time to set up a Windows 7 desktop compared to what was required in the Windows XP days.
Compare that to the cost of the lost productivity for that employee killing time at an old slow Windows XP computer. Compare that to the cost of the day that old computer dies unexpectedly – which will always be at the worst possible time.
Windows XP was an old friend. Feel free to tell me how much better it is than anything newer. Complain to me about the Office ribbon. Rage about how awful it is that everything changes. Weep on my shoulder because you can’t keep up. Turn out your pockets and show me how poor you are.
And then say goodbye to Windows XP. No excuses. No procrastination.