If you haven’t caught up yet (and really there is no excuse for this), Microsoft dropped support for Windows XP last week. While this may disappoint some it should come as no surprise. Released in 2001, and with several versions of Windows being released since (Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1), Windows XP is now over 12 years old. Just how long did you think Microsoft were going to keep on supporting it?
The problem for many churches (especially those with congregations 200 and under) is that many of them are running their offices on donated hardware and software, and in many cases that means Windows XP. As Microsoft themselves point out, XP will continue to work just as it is, but they are no longer releasing updates or security fixes for it. If you use Microsoft’s free anti-virus solution, Security Essentials, that too will no longer be getting any new virus definition updates. In sort, the longer you continue to use Windows XP past it’s “best before” date, the risk of a virus or malware infection increases (read more here from Microsoft).
So what to do?…
If you want to continue to use Windows XP, check which anti-virus/anti-malware/security suite you use on it. If it is Security Essentials, it is time to change. Uninstall Security Essentials and replace it with free products either from Avast or AVG. If you’re using Norton, McAfee or similar, check your subscription and make sure you are still getting updates.
Go Linux. For those non-tech people reading. Linux is a free open-source operating system. There are a number of different “flavours” (distributions) available, two of the most popular you may have heard of are Fedora and Ubuntu. For most people I would recommend Ubuntu (if you have used Mac OS X before, you might find some similarities). There is a whole suite of free software available, including Microsoft Office replacements, OpenOffice and Libre Office, or you could just use either Microsoft Office online at Office.com or Google Docs.
If you do go this route, you might want to get an IT geek from your congregation to give you a hand. If you do do it yourself, make sure you have a copy of your files either on a USB drive or online (OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox etc.)
A full upgrade. This option shows that you take the needs of your church seriously. If your still using a old-clunker with Windows XP, then maybe it is time to realise that it is 2014. There are a plethora of options available… Windows PCs, notebooks, convertibles and tablets, Chromebooks and Android tablets, Macs, MacBooks and iPads, many of which you can get as a complete solution (with Microsoft Office or similar) for well under $1000. Personally I’m a Windows guy, so that’d be the route I’d take, but your (and your churches) needs and your personal preferences are unique. Sit down with a couple of knowledgeable people from your congregation and workout what the best option for your church will be.
If you do want further assistance from us, you can leave a comment below, or ask a question on our LinkedIn group.