Q: I have Windows XP and it is time to move on. What should I do?

Tech Q & AA: I always feel it is better to control your technology than to let it control you. I preach to my clients to plan for technology upgrades on their terms. This is much more preferable than to suddenly be forced into an unprepared upgrade because of an unexpected failure. And failures do not always mean that something has crashed. It can also mean that a piece of technology became outdated and it no longer works as it did before. With this in mind, my recommendation is not to wait until your current computer fails you, but to start planning and budgeting now. Not only is it better for your budget, but you also get to prepare for the downtime and transition of data from the old computer to the new.

First off, there are a few exceptions where you may want to stick with Windows XP. Mostly, these cases would be in business environments, but if you really think you need to stick with Windows XP, please contact me and we can discuss your details. I think for most individuals and many small businesses, the best option is to purchase a new computer. The question of which computer to purchase is well beyond the scope of this article but let me leave you with two thoughts.

First, in today’s day and age, do not assume you must purchase another Windows-based computer. More and more people everyday are purchasing Macintosh computers and are by and large very happy with them. Certainly the fact that Macintosh computers do not get viruses is a huge benefit, but users are also very appreciate of their ease of use and compatibility with the data they used on their Windows machines. One fact that many people do not realize is that modern Mac computers can actually run Windows operating systems as well. This makes a Mac the only type of the computer in the world that can run all Mac and Windows software. It is very much like purchasing two computers in one.

Second, if you do decide to purchase a Windows computer do not purchase one with Windows Vista (or do not install Windows Vista on a Mac). Most new computers sold today now come with Windows 7 but a few inexpensive models still remain pre-loaded with Vista. Just double-check before you commit to the purchase that you are in fact getting Windows 7 and not Windows Vista.

Again, the bottom line to to start planning now. You do not need to run out and buy a new computer today, but do be prepared to move away from Windows XP before you are forced into making a decision.

If you have a technology question, please let me know and it will be featured in a future newsletter!