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R.I.P. Windows XP

Issue: Winter 2014
Jason Werner, Henry Schein TechCentral

Microsoft will discontinue support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. If your practice is still running Windows XP, learn what this means for you and what your upgrade options are.

After numerous extensions, Microsoft announced that Windows XP support will end in early 2014, and Microsoft will stop providing Windows XP updates, technical support, and security updates.

Microsoft’s Kristina Libby, in her October 2011 blog post, said of Windows XP, “While turning 10 is often lauded, in the tech industry it means you’re falling behind. Ten years is a long time to have the same old technology.” Microsoft says it is time to move on, and you should listen. After support ends, your Windows XP PCs could expose your systems and data to real security risks.

xp-retiring-monitor-220x220.jpg R.I.P. Windows XP

There is No XP in HIPAA
The end of security updates effectively makes Windows XP non-compliant with HIPAA, PCI and other security best practices. While the HIPAA police may not audit you the day after XP support ends, a failure to comply resulting lost or stolen patient data likely means big problems and big monetary fines.

Lose Windows XP… ASAP!
As XP approaches “end of life,” you can expect new computer software and dental hardware will not be Windows XP compatible. Continuing to operate on Windows XP will hinder your ability to get computer help or adopt new technologies that increase productivity and profits.

Also, Windows XP is a security time bomb for your practice as soon as support ends and Microsoft stops issuing fixes. According to a report by the National Security Agency, new Windows versions provide “substantial security enhancements over earlier Windows workstation operating systems such as XP.”

Get Ready to Upgrade
Older computers that came preloaded with Windows XP are likely at least six years old by now. They are out of warranty and prone to problems. And watch out! When they fail, and they will, it will likely cost your practice ten times more in productivity and revenue than it would have cost to replace them.

If your PCs don’t meet the minimum memory, hard drive, and processor system requirements for Windows 7 or 8, your best bet, in most cases, is to replace your PCs. The cost will likely be the same once you factor in parts, labor, additional warranties and headaches when compared to upgrading individual components. If your PCs barely meet new Windows minimum requirements, consider upgrading your hardware anyway to get the most out of the newer operating system.

As you consider your options, make sure you know which Windows version is required by your software and digital equipment. You may have one or two pieces of your digital puzzle that aren’t certified to run on a newer Windows operating system. It may be time to face the facts that your combination of computers, software, and cameras may need an upgrade to keep things running smoothly.

To talk about your best upgrade options, contact your local Henry Schein representative about a TechCentral computer assessment of your office, or call 877-483-0382, option 1 to request one. You can learn more about Henry Schein TechCentral computer and business technology solutions at www.HenryScheinTechCentral.com.