Windows XP users, beware: Security updates are going away

Mary Shinn/The Cortez Journal

 Victoria Petersen shows Doug Muscanell the new Windows 7 operating system she installed for his business Muscanell Millworks. Windows XP will no longer receive Microsoft security updates in April and Petersen's company, The Geeks, have been upgrading businesses across Montezuma County. Enlargephoto

Mary Shinn/The Cortez Journal Victoria Petersen shows Doug Muscanell the new Windows 7 operating system she installed for his business Muscanell Millworks. Windows XP will no longer receive Microsoft security updates in April and Petersen's company, The Geeks, have been upgrading businesses across Montezuma County.

Big changes are coming to the PC world if your home or business computers are still running Windows XP or Office 2003. Microsoft will stop issuing security updates to protect either system from viruses in April 2014.

Local computer expert Perry Lewis likens this to taking the lock off the door to a computer and leaving it open to any hacker.

But never fear, The Geeks are here to help.

The Geeks, Victoria Petersen and her husband Lewis, moved their business from Mancos to Cortez in early November and have been helping businesses and individuals through the PC transition.

Victoria Petersen said, in her experience, not very many people are aware that Microsoft XP is being phased out.

“I don’t think Microsoft is really putting a big push on letting people know about it,” she said.

Newer operating systems for Microsoft include Windows 7 and 8

Petersen has found many users are not fond of Windows 8, which was designed to function more like a computer tablet. Petersen has even seen customers switching to Apple computers because they are easier to use than Windows 8.

“It can be really kind of clunky when we’re not used to it, “ she said.

The Geeks have also been building quite a few custom computers to support Windows 7 as a result of the customer’s opting out of Windows’ lastest operating system.

On New Year’s Eve, The Geeks started installing six upgraded computers at Muscanell Millworks, a hardwood manufacturer, northwest of Cortez. The Geeks expected migrating emails, inventory data and other business necessities would take two days. The time it takes to upgrade a business’ operating system varies widely depending on the number of computers and the type of programs and data.

Muscanell Millworks decided to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 because the learning curve for Windows 8 would have been too steep, said Karen Harbaugh one of the owners. “Businesses typically don’t want the latest and greatest because there are always bug fixes,” Petersen said.

For individuals with Windows XP it is possible to just upgrade the computer’s operating system without buying a new computer depending on speed of the processor, Lewis said. But the computer will likely need more memory because computers running Windows 7 generally have four times the memory of a computer running Windows. XP.Colorado’s smokin’-hot

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