Q. What does it mean that Microsoft® is no longer supporting Windows XP?
A. Microsoft releases software patches periodically to close operating system exploits as they are discovered. The most recent (and last) Windows XP update on 4/8/14 fixed vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer that could allow a remote user to access computers running Windows XP.
From now on, no additional security patches will be released by Microsoft for Windows XP which means the longer a client continues to use this Windows operating system the more vulnerable they are to malicious Internet Explorer attacks.
Q. This sounds like a security issue. If I already use some sort of security or virus protection software why should I be concerned if Microsoft is no longer issuing security fixes?
A. Though using third-party virus protection/malware software to help protect your computer from attack is always a good idea and your Norton, McAfee, AVG, etc. software may provide protection currently if you’re running Windows XP, it’s inevitable that these providers will discontinue providing virus/malicious software protection for Windows XP users as the number of people using this operating system will continue to decline. When this protection will no longer available is the big question which is impossible to predict.
Recovering from a software security attack is a time-consuming task with often devastating effects. That’s why we recommend you be proactive and switch to a Windows operating system that currently is being supported by both Microsoft and other software providers.
Q. I’m confused. I read somewhere that even though Microsoft isn’t going to release any more security fixes they will be providing some sort of virus protection for Windows XP. What’s that all about?
A. If you use Windows Security Essentials (MSE) as your virus protection software and already have it installed on your computer, Microsoft WILL continue to provide virus definition updates until July 14, 2015. To download and apply them, click on the “Update” button within your MSE software as per usual.
Q. So Microsoft isn’t going to release any more Internet Explorer security fixes for Windows XP users. I don’t use Internet Explorer. Or, what if I use Firefox or Chrome instead? Won’t that take care of the problem?
A. Using a different browser is a good idea, but the issue is larger than that. Internet Explorer is part of the Windows XP operating system which means even if you don’t use Internet Explorer, it is always loaded up and resident on your computer, and cannot be uninstalled.
In addition, software providers, including those that provide virus/spam protection will be discontinuing support for Windows XP as time goes by. If your computer is not being protected it puts you at risk for a malicious software attack which can render your Windows XP computer inoperable — meaning you will be unable to access your Pontem Software and more importantly, your database records and files.
Q. I’m on a stand-alone computer and don’t connect to the Internet so using Internet Explorer is a moot point for me. I have nothing to be concerned about, right?
A. While technically that’s true, if the current computer you are using runs Windows XP and has a catastrophic failure, any new computer you purchase will not use the Windows XP operating system; it will be necessary for you to use Windows 7 or 8 instead. In addition, continuing advances in computer hardware and peripherals will make Windows XP obsolete (i.e., the new printer you buy will not work as the manufacturer no longer issues drivers for Windows XP installations). That’s why we recommend you consider replacing any older computers with a newer model which does not use Windows XP BEFORE you run into any of these issues.
Q. So does this mean my Pontem software or Windows XP will no longer work?
A. No, both will still work. However, due to the fact that Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows XP with security updates, and continuing advances in computer hardware and peripheral technology which will render Windows XP obsolete, we recommend our clients consider purchasing a newer computer which runs either Windows 7 or 8.
Q. Can I still receive and apply Pontem software updates if I’m using Windows XP?
A. Yes, for the time being. But eventually, newer versions of our software will not be compatible with Windows XP due to advances in computer hardware technology that are beyond our and consumer control.
For example, Pontem’s cemetery software currently requires a minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. This is considered “high resolution” on Windows XP, but is low resolution on newer computers that use wide-screen monitors.
Newer versions of Pontem’s cemetery software will undoubtedly accommodate higher resolution screens which will not be compatible with Windows XP. Similar, yet different, incompatibility issues are expected to evolve that will affect our Fund Accounting and Property Tax software as well.
Q. Can’t I just upgrade my Windows Operating System instead of buying a new computer?
A. Yes you can, be we don’t recommend it. Generally, there are far more issues when upgrading a computer’s operating system than there are just purchasing a new computer with an upgraded operating system intact. Plus, any new machine you purchase will have far more computing capacity than older models. Purchasing a new computer is the most cost effective and efficient solution especially these days when you can buy a desktop or laptop suitable for use with your
Pontem software for $300-$500 on the average.
Q. What should I look for when I buy a new computer?
A. For a list of recommended computer hardware specs see the article entitled: “ Pontem Software System Requirements.”
Q. If I do buy a new computer as you recommend, how do I get my Pontem software and database and files over to the new machine?
A. When you wish to utilize your Pontem software on a new computer, re-installation and re-triggering of your Pontem programs on the new machine is necessary. Your Pontem database files also need to be migrated to your new hardware.