Thousands of users would have to shell out no less than Rs 10,000 with Microsoft deciding to show the door to Windows XP from April 8.
If you are using a licensed Windows XP operating system (OS) — first released in 2001 — on your computer, laptop or any other device then it’s time to upgrade to the latest OS — Windows 8 and 8.1.
The software major has decided to withdraw Windows XP (experience) and MS Office 2003 from April 8.
It has a rippling effect on government and private offices in the state also. For example, around 160 computers in the treasury section of the finance department at the secretariat are being upgraded to Windows 8 to avoid any threat to the crucial data after the software becomes unsupported. “The decision of Microsoft to dump Windows XP might not cause much effect to those, who have been using unlicensed or pirated software as the OS would continue to run but unsupported and unlicensed. But offices, both government and private, are left with no other option than to leave Windows XP. Accordingly, we are upgrading Windows XP to Windows 8 in 160 computers at the finance department office,” said Shekhar Kumar, a software vendor.
The users are left with only a few options as the Microsoft support centre has issued a statement: “After April 8, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date. If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Also, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimise for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter greater numbers of apps and devices that do not work with Windows XP.”
Bihar State Electronic Development Corporation Limited (Beltron), the nodal agency for procurement and supply of computers and other IT products to all state government departments also claimed to have taken precautionary steps in this regard. “We are also concerned about Microsoft’s decision. We have examined the OS being used across different departments, especially those having direct public dealings. Fortunately, it was found that the share of Windows XP is minimal at the government offices. Still, we would take all possible measures in case those systems develop any snag after the deadline for end of support as Microsoft is in a rate contract with us,” said Atul Sinha, managing director, Beltron.
Sinha, however, added that most of the computers in the government offices using Windows XP are quite old and have less memory, thus might not be compatible for an upgrade. Replacement of the system would be the option for such computers.
Despite being quite old, Windows XP apparently still commands a significant market share. According to the latest figures, Windows XP has an almost 30 per cent share of the desktop OS market, second only to Windows 7 which has about 47 per cent. By contrast, Windows 8, which started shipping in October 2012, and its 8.1 update, released a year later, have a combined share of about 10.6 per cent.
On the other hand, software vendors in the city have claimed to witness a sudden surge in demand of Windows 8 for all kinds of workplaces. “Original licensed OS at offices has become almost a compulsion these days due to strict vigil of Microsoft. Even some other apps do not get installed properly if Windows is unlicensed. Thus, upgrading Windows XP to Windows 8 by April 8 is virtually mandatory for all workstations. Accordingly, we are getting a lot of queries these days about Windows 8 and many of these are converting into orders as well,” said Neeraj Kumar, manager, Super Computers, SP Verma Road.
Private firms in the city have also claimed to get rid of Windows XP at the earliest.
“Though we constantly update all kinds of software we use but there might be a few computers, which are still running on Windows XP. As we only use licensed and fully supported software as per our policy, thus we are going to upgrade XP to Windows 8 very soon,” said Mrinal Singh, director, UNO Digital Pvt. Ltd, which is into animation business.