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Windows XPIf you’ve read our last two posts, you’re well aware that Windows will soon stop support for its XP operating system, and those with XP should switch to a new system sooner rather than later. In this post, we’ll look at the different options you have, including those outside of the Windows family. We recommend looking at each system and assessing what is right for your agency – there is no one size fits all! Regardless of which system you pick, be ready for some transition time and keep your mind open. Think of this upgrade as an investment in the future of your agency, allowing you to meet growing needs.

When it comes to operating systems, there are three that dominate the tech world. Windows, Apple and Linux each have their own versions of operating system, but Windows still holds the crown with over 50% of users, according to web analytics firm Net Applications. Although Windows dominates, Linux and Apple have their fans for their own reasons.

Linux users like it for its customization and ability to operate on modest hardware. Also, Linux is not tied to a specific vendor, so it has less licensing restrictions than Windows or Apple. The biggest hit to Linux is that it doesn’t hold much clout in the software world. Since it’s not as popular, it can be hit or miss as to whether your software can run on it. This can be especially tricky with agency management systems.

Apple has made its name as the Windows alternative. Since Apple has created its empire on the iPhone, iPad and iPod, if you’re using these devices a lot, it may be easier for you to switch to all-Apple all the time. As its popularity grows, more newer versions of software are compatible with Apple’s operating system, and those who like Windows systems like Excel or Word can get add-ons to make Apple compatible with Windows-only software. However, like Linux, not many agency management systems are yet fully Apple compatible. Also, Apple’s systems run only on Apple products, meaning you’ll need to trade in your PC for a Mac, adding an expense to your upgrade.

The easiest transition from Windows XP is to move to a newer Windows version. Upgrading within Windows means you’ll get help from Windows professionals who will know XP and your new operating system well.  Here’s a quick look at your Windows options:

Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8.1

  • Released Oct 2013
  • Has all new  user interface with multiple tiles for application grouping
  • Also offers ability to view traditional user interface
  • Touch activated, but can still be used with a mouse/keyboard
  • Can synch with mobile and tablets
  • Can have multiple windows open at once and view all at same time – called “snap”
  • Fastest Windows operating system
  • Released January 2007
  • Closest version to XP
  • Has new look, dubbed “Aero”: a transparent, airy look
  • Offers more instruction in use, such as text within search boxes letting you know where you are searching (i.e. “Search in My Pictures”)
  • Increased memory and speed from XP
  • Will be next to lose support (speculated will end in 2015)
  • Released Oct 2009
  • Same “Aero” look  and instruction in use as Vista
  • Allows you to switch back and forth between windows by covering
  • Has “show desktop” feature to bring you back to your desktop at anytime
  • Increased memory and security
  • More refined than Vista, but not as fast as Windows 8.1

As you can see, you’re looking at an interface change and increased memory and speed with each Windows option. No matter which version you chose, be sure to check on hardware compatibility and back up your files to ensure all your info makes the switch. Although it may be tempting to inch up to the operating system following XP, it may be better to jump over to Windows 8 to allow more time between upgrades. When making your choice, think about cost, compatibility and system longevity. In the end, you know what is best for your agency.

While upgrading your operating system, you should also take a look at your agency management system. Be sure it is compatible with your operating system upgrade, and is staying up to pace with your agency’s needs. Our Partner XE is constantly upgraded and tailored to your agency thanks to your personal SIS rep, so if you’ve got XE you know you’re ready. If you’d like to find out about how Partner XE can serve your agency, contact us at 800.747.9273 or [email protected].

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