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Windows XP is no longer available.....
If you own or manage a business which uses important expensive software
that will not run on a Windows 7 operating system, it is VERY important that you
read this information immediately!
Microsoft recently stopped selling any copies of Windows XP and they forced their retail dealers to remove any computers from their inventory that had that operating system pre-installed. (Click here to visit the Microsoft webpage which explains all the details) Windows 7, which replaced XP is a much more robust, stable and user friendly operating system and if you are not yet using it, you should do so right away. Unless you are a business who is using special software that will not run on Windows 7.....
I have many clients who are business professionals such as physicians, attorneys, engineers, architects, land surveyors, etc. who use software that cost well over $25,000 and it will not yet run on Windows 7!! So when your Windows XP workstation crashes and it cannot be replaced, what will you do? Answer: Contact me. It is almost always possible to repair or rebuild your Windows XP computer, especially if it was made by Dell. In the past, I did not usually recommend this if the computer was more than 3 years old since you could purchase a new, faster system with XP installed for less than $400. Since you can no longer take that route, it might make sense to repair or rebuild that 5 year old workstation if your expensive software will not run on Windows 7. If you have an old truck that is essential to your business and is only worth $1,000 and the transmission goes out, you would probably just replace the truck with a newer model. But if they no longer make that truck and it is the only one that will do the job for you, it would make sense to spend $1,500 to rebuild the transmission anyway. And your Windows XP workstations are in the same situation. If you have to use them, you will have to rebuild or repair them, even if they are old. The old truck with the new transmission will do the job for you, but it might not keep up with the flow of traffic and it certainly won't have all the bells and whistles a new truck would have. Same thing for the older XP won't be fast or fancy, but it will get the job done with respect to your expensive proprietary software.
The problem is, that's all that rebuilt 5 year old computer will do well....operate your special software. It will be sluggish at many other computer tasks since the software manufacturers are writing programs that take advantage of Windows 7's speed and power. I you have purchased Microsoft Office 2010, you will notice that even the new splash screen is animated! This type of program places a very heavy burden on both the hardware and software on your computer. A computer running a Pentium 4, 2.0gHz processor with 0.5 gb of ram will have a really hard time running this type of program.
If your computer is a Dell and it needs to be rebuilt, you will not need to supply me with any of the cd's that came when you purchased the computer. If your computer is NOT a Dell, you will need to provide original operating system restore disks that were shipped with the computer when it was new (unless your model accesses these restore files from a hidden partition on your hard drive). Without these disks, you computer may not be able to be restored. They may be available from the manufacturer, but they are not free and may take several days to acquire.
But there may be a better alternative......
Many of the larger software developers have already begun to offer web based solutions for your information management tasks. In case you are not familiar with this type of application, its really pretty simple. The hosting company, such as Intuit, will install their application (i.e Quickbooks) on a very large powerful server, usually located somewhere in the U.S. They purchase Microsoft Windows Server terminal services license in bulk from Microsoft and then charge you a monthly fee to use one of those licenses to connect to their server. The hosting companies usually have hundreds of servers and can handle thousands of concurrent users. If you are from the "old school" and don't think you would like this type of application hosting for your business, I have bad news for you! Eventually, almost all of the major vendors will be converting to web based applications and many will discontinue their local server based programs. Web based applications have many advantages for both the software providers and the end users (like you and me).....
Advantages for the software vendors -
  • They can significantly reduce the total number of support staff since they only need to keep their application working properly on their servers and don't have to worry about your local server not working properly. Since they have no control over your servers or workstations, it can be a real challenge to get their software to work properly on your equipment. And any software company's biggest expense is employees, so their profit margins should increase significantly for this reason alone.
  • From a marketing standpoint, its much easier to get a client to agree to pay $30 per month per user than to get them to pay $6,000 per year for tech support and even more for annual product updates.

Advantages for the end users -

  • You seldom have to install any software on your local workstations. No more calls to me or their tech support because your workstation cannot access your data.
  • Most vendors include the regular software updates in their monthly user contract, so you don't have to pay any additional upgrade fees.
  • You no longer have to obtain update cd's from the vendor, backup your data, then install the updates and hope everything works properly. That will all be done at the web based server location.
  • You no longer need to purchase and maintain an expensive server at your location (unless you need it for other applications such as MS Exchange Server, which also has a web based alternative).
  • Your workstation only needs to have internet access to log onto the web based server. Once connected, it will operate at the speed of the web base server, assuming your internet connection speed is sufficient to handle the required data packet exchange. Therefore, there are few, if any, minimum hardware requirements for your workstations.
  • You no longer need to worry about power outages during thunderstorms, etc. The web based servers are usually backed up by power supply systems that cost millions of dollars!!
  • It makes no difference what Windows operating system you are running on your workstations as long as they can access the internet.
  • Your data is stored on the remote server and is backed up by them, so you don't have to worry about data loss. If you have a disaster and loose all your computers, you simply purchase new workstations, then log back into your application.
  • If your key office person is ill and needs to work from home for any length of time, they only need a computer with internet access. They log onto your web server just like they were at the office. They could even work right from their hospital bed with a laptop!!! You should probably be sure they have time to recover from the anesthesia or your P&L could have some very strange numbers on it!! As a manager, that also give you the ability to log on from any computer in the world that has an internet connection.
  • If your business grows and you need to hire additional employees, you only need to provide them with a computer which has internet access and they are up and running. Of course, they will probably need to have network printers installed, email accounts setup, etc., so you may still need assistance from me!
Dis-Advantages for the end users -
  • If you loose your internet connection, you cannot access your data at all.
  • If your internet connection is slow (below 800 kbps download), you may not be able to use the web based system at all. A standard DSL connection will operate at about 1,500 kbps. A dial up modem operates at about 45 kbps. Click here to test your internet connection speed now.
  • If you are using a standard DSL connection and have more than about 15 users, you may have to increase you internet connection speed to prevent bottlenecks in your data packet transfers to and from your web based servers. There's not much worse for staff morale than having them wait 45 seconds for their screen to refresh every time they click a button! And that doesn't help your business profit margins either...
  • Although backing up and maintaining the integrity of your data on a local server can be a challenge, what will you do if the company you are using suddenly files bankruptcy and closes it doors? And the more we continue to convert our paperwork to electronic medical records as mandated by our government, the higher this risk becomes. You might want to consider arranging to have the web based applicatioin vendor provide you with a DVD containing your data on a regular basis as part of your contract.....

These are very trying times and business owners and managers must make decisions which will impact their business for years to come. Please don't hesitate to contact me so I can help you make this very important decision....


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