Goodbye XP

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A baby with spiky hair and sad expression waves goodbye.

For businesses, saying goodbye to XP can be painful.

For businesses, saying goodbye to XP can be painful.  A lot of businesses, especially small and medium ones, depend on bookkeeping software or niche industry software that was created for Windows XP, and doesn’t work with more up-to-date versions of Windows. These businesses don’t want or are anxious about the change to newer software because not only is it an expensive purchase, it’s also a major interruption in the way they do business.

The transition involves not only the upgrade cost of the niche software itself which can be substantial, but also the research and skill involved in picking a replacement, installing the new software on the server and workstations, customizing the new software to fit their individual needs, exporting and importing data from the old software to the new, learning the new software, and training the staff to use it.  Many of these business owners or managers have poor computer or IT skills and learning a new procedure and all its processes is a major challenge.

Is it any wonder they are resistant?  They really don’t have time for all that, they are running a business. They would prefer to do what they’ve always done, for well over a decade in many cases, and resent being pushed by Microsoft into changing over to an application that works with newer versions, Windows 7, 8, and now 8.1.  What they have now with Windows XP works fine.

Yet change they must.  Even though XP and the industry niche software that run on it are still working after April 9, the problems associated with staying with XP are growing and will soon be myriad.

These are some of the problems:

  • Security will be more and more of a risk and a liability since fewer anti-viruses will run and update on XP.  Also Windows security updates for XP have ended.
  • Replacement hardware such as printers and scanners, including receipt printers, will be more difficult to find unless replaced with used printers.
  • Workstations themselves that run on XP will be difficult to find since there will be fewer and fewer drivers for their hardware components that are XP-compatible.
  • Wifi security is being upgraded all the time and eventually newer forms will not work on XP.

One solution is to use Windows 7 XP Mode.  Windows 7 offers XP Mode which basically runs a virtual example of Windows XP that might be utilized for legacy applications.  Windows 8/8.1 also has its version of this, a Program Compatibility Troubleshooter that helps you run programs that just work in earlier versions of Windows. Unfortunately, these don’t work 100 percent of the time, and the unreliability might be too costly. Yet these compatibility solutions offer a stop gap measure while businesses move to newer industry niche and bookkeeping applications.

One way to ease the transition is to hire a local it support company such as Ducktoes, if you are in Calgary.  We can provide the necessary new hardware and install everything for you.  We’ve done this for several businesses now.  Call and ask for a quote. You can also call your software provider and see if they have newer versions to work with newer Windows and if they provide support to upgrade.  Many will work with you or your IT company at no extra cost.  They also may take support calls as your staff and you learn the new software.

Ducktoes also does computer repair for Calgary business.

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Critical Deadline Approaching for Windows 8.1 Users

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Too late

This is a warning to users of Windows 8.1.  If you didn’t get the huge update for 8.1 in April, you only have until June 10 to do so.  For business users, the deadline is in August.  Otherwise you’ll be cut off from getting security patches and other updates for 8.1.  You need to get your update or you won’t get anymore.

I don’t understand why Microsoft would want to deny access to updates by deadline.  This does not seem a way to win friends and reassure new and already wary users to appreciate Windows 8.1 or Microsoft in general, but there you have it.

Windows 8 was a vast and generally disliked or misunderstood departure from popular and well-received Windows 7. Many users were lost in the new operating system, spending what should have productive hours on a learning curve they seemed to resent.  The return of the start button in 8.1 was warmly received as a possible fix to the learning curve problem, yet adding a deadline with punitive consequences seems a bit draconian.  Especially since many users, in my experience as a tech and owner of Ducktoes, a computer repair company, don’t really understand what updates are for and why they need them and may miss the deadline out of lack of knowledge.  Banning them from future updates and from the very start button in 8.1 that these users want, doesn’t seem like an endearing promotion of Microsoft products.

Also I don’t know what happens to people who buy a Windows 8 machine after the deadline.  Will they be barred from getting the update too?

For more info, read this PC World article or this from Microsoft.

For help with your updates for 8.1, visit Ducktoes our computer repair website or shop in Calgary.

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Today’s the Big Day

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A graphic from Microsoft that says "Support is Ending Soon."

Today is the day many big things are happening at Microsoft. I’ve enumerated them below.

1. This is the end, my friend.  Windows XP is no longer supported.


To commemorate the demise of XP today, April 8th, I’ve found a photo of the original Bliss desktop from Windows XP and also a photo from the same perspective a few years later, revealing dying vines and a gloomy sky.  I know I’m being overly-dramatic, but it is over. Lol. XP is dead. As Google Chrome says when it crashes, “He’s dead, Jim.”

Here is the countdown for Enterprise customers. Unless of course you are the government of Great Britain or a major corporation.  You’ll get an extension for an expensive price.

2. Today is also the beginning since a new update for Windows 8.1 will be coming out that includes a return of the Start Menu. Ta duh. I know many people who will be overjoyed.

3. Today is also the end of support for Office 2003.

What you can do about the end of XP
If you have computers running XP you’ll want to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 especially if your computer has good enough specs to handle it, in other words, if your computer has a big enough processor and hard drive and enough ram to handle a modern operating system.  You don’t have to do this immediately.  You could keep running XP until you have trouble which may not happen for quite awhile and then change, if you don’t mind the inconvenience of changing when problems arise. Otherwise, you may want to buy a new computer as soon as your time and budget allow.  If XP keeps working for you in the meantime, go ahead and keep using it, it will still work but not as securely as before support ended.  Again, this may not be a problem for you.  It’s not an emergency.  Just keep in mind that eventually you’ll need a new operating system or computer.

What you can do about the end of Office 2003
If you are using Office 2003 you should switch to a newer version of Office, or a free open source counterpart like Libre Office.

What you should do about the return of the Start Menu
If you haven’t already, you should update to Windows 8.1 and you’ll get a start menu, since it’s coming in an update today.

Ducktoes can help
If you’d like help in getting a new computer or upgrading your old one, Ducktoes can help.   We have decent, reliable custom computers at fair prices.  We also have laptops at great prices. We’ll help you update your operating system or Office product too.  We provide computer repair services in Calgary, AB.

This is Microsoft has to say about the end of support  from their website.

Here is what I have to say about the return of the Start Menu in a previous post.

The photos are from Creative Commons.

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Coming Soon to a Desktop Near You, the Start Menu

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Hey all of you haters of Windows 8, pining for your start menu, guess what? Microsoft has listened. The big date for the return of the Start Menu is April 8th. Notoriously missing from previous versions of Windows 8, it will coming on that date as an update. The start menu will be an update to the 8.1 update which you should already have if your computer has been updating normally.

Here’s is Windows 8 without a start menu (this is only a guess at what it will look like):


And with the start menu:


All along at Ducktoes we’ve been giving clients who were confused or unhappy with Windows 8, the “classic shell,” which is a third-party application that creates a start menu within in Windows 8.  We’ve been installing it on all new computers for clients who requested it.  Now “the classic shell” will no longer be necessary, as this latest update will install a start menu within Windows operating system itself.

I can’t wait. Ducktoes clients will be taking to the streets dancing in joy. There will be parades, fireworks, and celebrations everywhere. Well, okay, perhaps not, but many will certainly be smiling and laughing on April 8th.

A photo of large purplish-pink firework or a cityscape at night.

I hope that the new Start Menu is everything we expect it. We shall soon see.

Now if only they’d bring back Outlook Express, which my clients always ask for when they have to give up Windows XP.  Or what if they’d make a new operating system a modern Windows XP and call it Windows XP 2015?  Everyone would adore that.

If you need help with Windows updates so you can get a start menu on April 8th, just drop by the shop.  We can also do it remotely with our remote computer support.

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My Dad’s Opinion of Windows 8


The photo says it all.

This is my dad in front of his nine-year-old XP machine, while his brand-new Windows 8 machine sits on the next desk.

When my dad’s old computer died, he bought a new computer, which, unfortunately, came with Windows 8. He hated it, he missed his Outlook Express and how he could get around the operating system and file structure easily, and his old solitaire game. He missed the start menu and the menu bars on his Word and Excel.

I was visiting then, about a month ago, so I tried to help. I gave him a start menu and, since you can’t get Outlook Express anymore, Thunderbird for email, but that didn’t change his mind.  He still missed his old one. For his birthday, then, I rebuilt the XP machine, replacing the power supply, the ram, and the hard drive, which was so old it was IDE and hard to find. It took me three days of my vacation to drive around and find and replace the parts, ghost the old hard drive, and reimage it to a new-to-us used IDE drive. It was his old computer, exactly as it was, but running again, brought back to life.

It was the best present I’ve ever given him.

In his career, my dad was a computer pioneer.  He designed computers that were as big as our condo and ran submarines, jets, and rocket ships.  I guess that makes him a rocket scientist.  One of his designs controlled the first submarine that went under the artic circle.  He’s 87 now and still sharp as ever, yet Windows 8 was not something he wanted to learn.  He might have liked Windows 7 better but he still would have missed Outlook Express. He’s not alone.  Many of my clients and friends also miss Outlook Express, which turned out to be one of the most popular email programs ever.  Microsoft might be wise to allow people to use it still, make a new version that works with Windows 7 and 8.  That would be a popular move with thousands of people.

He now does use his Windows 8 machine a bit, however. He found he likes the solitaire game that came with it better now. I don’t think it’s really on the machine, however. I’m not sure but I’m guessing it’s on the cloud.

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