By now, you may have heard that Microsoft® is ending its extended support for Windows® XP on April 8, 2014. (Learn more about the Windows Lifecycle.) While most firms have already moved off of XP completely or are in the process of doing so, we know from responses to our annual UltraTax CS user survey conducted earlier this year that some firms are still operating with one or more PCs running XP.
From a practical standpoint, what does the end of Windows XP extended support mean?
It’s much more than the end of enhancements or added functionality. Microsoft stopped developing enhancements (mainstream support) to XP in 2009. The discontinuation of extended support in 2014 means there will be no more updates at all, for any reason. With this change, security is a main concern. For example, if a security flaw is identified on April 9, 2014, Microsoft will not release an update and will not be responsible for repairing the breach. Additionally, performance will continue to dwindle as long as you are operating in the XP environment.
How does this change affect your CS Professional Suite software? It doesn’t mean that on April 9 your software will stop functioning in Windows XP. It does mean, however, that we will begin moving away from supporting our software in the XP environment.
The April 8 end date is a bit challenging for the profession, but we’ll do our best to help you through the upcoming tax season if you’re planning to operate XP machines past the end of the year. Thomson Reuters will end formal support of all CS Professional Suite software on the XP operating system as of June 30, 2014.
Although we plan to support CS Professional Suite software running in the Windows XP environment through June 30, 2014, we highly recommend that your firm consider upgrading your operating system before tax season starts. Windows 7 and Windows 8 have more advanced security functionality. Upgrading your operating system now will reduce stress and anxiety as the end of tax season approaches. If any Windows XP system issues arise past April 8, 2014, they will not be addressed by Microsoft and could render your CS Professional Suite software inoperable. The safest path is to move off of XP before tax season and well in advance of Microsoft’s extended support end date.
Which operating system is best for your firm: Windows 7 or Windows 8? That’s a decision you’ll need to consider carefully, based on the longevity of the new operating system (reference the Windows Lifecycle), the learning curve, your software, and the cost differences. We recommend discussing your options with your trusted network technician or IT staff to determine the best choice for your firm. You may also want to seek advice from other practitioners on ARNE. You can learn more about each operating system at the links below:
- Windows 7: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/get-know-windows-7
- Windows 8: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/meet
Want some additional perspective on this change? Read the blog article by Randy Johnston of K2 Enterprises, a recognized technology consultant in the profession.
As we all adjust to this transition by Microsoft, remember that we’re here to help you with your tax and accounting software questions during your move to a new operating system.