End of an Era: Windows XP support ends April 8th
The year 2001 brought forth a host of technology innovations that began shaping the future of tech in our lives and careers. Mac OS 10.0 (Cheetah) was introduced. Satellite radio was launched. We met the Segway scooter, the Xbox, and the demise of Napster (the wild west of pirated music before it was commercialized). However, one shiny new product in 2001 has far surpassed the expected lifespan of that year’s heralded technology - Windows XP.
A thirteen year run by Microsoft’s longstanding workhorse is fast approaching sunset, as their official support for Windows XP will end on April 8, 2014. When support for XP is discontinued, security exploits and vulnerabilities in the operating system will no longer be patched by Microsoft. The “End of Life” for Windows XP poses a unique challenge for a school district due to the timing. When XP support bids farewell, a large volume of Windows XP devices become unsupported for the remaining month and a half of the school year.
In order to sustain a secure and stable technology environment, DCSD will be ending the support of Windows XP on April 8th, requiring that XP is not used on our network. Users of unique (non-districtwide) applications should begin contacting their software vendors to ensure those applications will run on Windows 7 Professional without issue.
Plans are underway to address district XP machines that are still eligible for support (Optiplex 755, 760, and Latitude 5400 models); the Device team is already in communication with many sites about their unique situations and inventory. Older, obsolete Dell machines that are not eligible for rotation or continued support will either need to be removed from the district network by April 8th or have a school-purchased Windows 7 license imaged onto the device. If a computer was purchased with a Windows 7 license, but rolled back to a Windows XP image, they will need to be reimaged with a district-approved Windows 7 image. Local CRTs will be able to assist you with this process.
As any large organization will attest, Windows XP has provided an exceptional opportunity to get longer life out of older hardware, a steady platform for specialized applications and systems, and cost savings attributed to using the same operating system for over a decade. While the familiarity and stability of Windows XP will be missed, the advanced capabilities of newer technology and hardware will provide a value-add to our students and staff.
For more information about the end of Windows XP support, including how it also affects your personal computing experience (if you currently use XP), please visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/endofsupport.aspx.