Why You Need To Replace Those Older Windows

More than 50 million aging PCs sit on desks in corporate cubes and offices and homes around the world..
Fast forward to early-2011. Those machines -- dusty monitors surrounded by sticky notes and keyboards
that show distinct signs of harboring biological activity -- are still in operation, which is the problem.

If all of those PCs just died with a hard-drive whine and a puff of smoke, the IT and corporate management
issue would be simple: Buy a new computer with an up-to-date operating system. However, PCs don't all
expire on some arbitrary date, such as the day the computer is completely depreciated. The computers keep
running, more or less, the way they have for four or five years -- which is why so many executives have
repeatedly used the low-risk "no way" answer to requests for a new generation of business PC
replacements.

'Software Never Wears Out'
Non-technical executives believe that as long as the PC hardware keeps running, the PC software will keep
running. This is true, but only in a vacuum under laboratory conditions.

The fact is that software does wear out. PC software is programmed and supported by businesses that need
to be efficient and profitable, just like their customers. Ford only guarantees spare parts for five years after
a car is built. Guess what? Microsoft will only support an operating system for five years after it is
introduced.

There are two parts of Microsoft's support policies that the CEO/PC owner needs to understand clearly.
First, Microsoft products that are past their support dates cannot have support contracts, so telephone
remediation ceases, and there are no new service packs to fix bugs. Second, security hot fixes are no
longer provided, meaning that newly discovered security bugs in non-supported products won't be fixed by
Microsoft and, thus, become an attractive taeget for hackers.

Windows NT 4.xx went into the non-support stage  with Windows 98/SE, in the summer of 2005. XP will be
soon to follow. It is logical to assume that support reductions by other hardware and software suppliers will
be influenced by those dates. New components no longer come with NT/98/ME/2000 drivers.

Act Two: The Auditors Enter
Corporate desktops that are left vulnerable to security problems of unknown risk represent an
unacceptable information technology practice. A Big Four accounting firm partner indicated  that his firm's
auditors, as they did during the Year 2000 period, would look askance at clients running mission-critical
business processes on unsupported and vulnerable computers.

Followed By The Lawyers
The corporate law partner says his firm had a lot of old machines. He said that some circumstances, such as
knowing that the use of old PCs might result in an enterprise catastrophe, could lead to a claim of
negligence. But his more insightful comment was that no corporate executive wants to become a
laughingstock by doing something stupid that harms the business, yet is avoidable.

Looking down the road,  keeping Win NT/98/ME/2000/XP-era PCs around much longer will move from the
executive's prudent category to the stupid category.

It's A Great Time For A PC Replacement Cycle
If you buy the above arguments and are still reading, then there is good news: 2011 is an auspicious time
for starting or accelerating a PC replacement cycle:

• Windows 7 Pro is out in the field and working well. No stability problems here. A great client OS on today's
more powerful desktops -- and laptops.

• Windows Server 2008 brings a new round of support servers, notably Exchange 2008 and SQL Server.
These use network and server resources more efficiently.

• Intel's new chipset line has inaugurated a period of platform and software image stability. Features include
a fast, 1333+MHz front-side bus, better graphics, and more efficient Ethernet processing.

• Intel's Core i5 and i7 with Hyper Threading ,  architectures are now mainstream. They are better at dealing
with multi-tasking that is prevalent in the operating system, as well as thread-aware applications.

• About one-third of corporate PC purchases this year will be laptops. The Intel wireless laptops feature a
long battery life and have the benefits of wireless productivity. AMD offers a vastly improved laptop package
as well.

PC prices, managed small-business PC prices  which includes Windows 7 Pro,  Business and Office  
licenses -- run from $499 to $1250 from the top suppliers. That works out to roughly $1.50 per day over
three or four years in capital asset costs. Moreover, a new PC has much lower ongoing management costs
than  late 2007 generation; total cost of purchase and ownership is down appreciably.

Time For Action
Last year at this time companies and home offices were filled with those old PCs . Management did not at all
like spending hard cash in a down economy to upgrade their PC ecosystem. However, after analyzing the
business situation and concluding that businesses and home office users could not afford the aggravation
and potential disruption of knowledge and  of small office-driven business by not upgrading. Tough
medicine, was the conclusion, but common sense.

For those businesses and home offices that is at the tipping point -- especially the small-to-medium ones
lacking a 24-by-7 global IT operations department -- it is time to crank up the planning for the recession-
disrupted PC replacement cycle and get with the 21st century.

Tell the C-level executives and small office operators that your organization may be able to limp through the
next year, but at an increasing risk to individual productivity and business-process continuity.
The time to upgrade is now !!

Entry level PC's can be purchased for as little as $400 !!
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