Microsoft Windows XP was generally available on December 1, 2001 over a decade ago. Mainstream support ended April 14, 2009 and Microsoft will drop Extended Support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?
After April 8, 2014 Windows XP will no longer be acceptable as part of your HIPAA compliant solution. Microsoft will no longer offer support for Windows XP: No paid support, product-specific information using the online Microsoft Knowledge Base, product-specific information on the Support site at Microsoft Help and Support, etc. Most importantly, no security updates. Security holes will no longer be patched leaving the operating system open to mal-ware attack.
WHAT CAN I DO?
- Upgrade the Operating system:
If you purchased the computer with a downgrade from Vista, you should have the Microsoft Vista disk and install key. Vista support ends on April 11, 2017. Unfortunately it is no longer available for resale.
If the hardware is capable, upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Windows 7 support ends on January 14, 2020. Microsoft has not yet set dates for termination of retail and OEM sales of Windows 7, but retail channels can sell it until at least October 25, 2012 and if your computer came with Windows, a year longer from the company that made your computer (OEM).
If the hardware is not powerful enough for the Microsoft upgrades, Linux is an option. You can create a very serviceable computer for email, Web surfing, and word-processing. I like ubuntu.
- Replace the computer. Wipe or better yet shred the Hard Drive and recycle the old computer. Replace it with a new computer running Windows 7 or 8.
- If you are replacing several desktops, consider local or data center located private cloud virtual desktops as a solution. This solution usually offers a lower cost of ownership and is a more versatile solution.