Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years, but the company plans to invest its resources supporting more recent technologies in the future. As a result, beginning April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide technical support for Windows XP.

More specifically, Microsoft says, as of April, it will no longer provide assistance for Windows XP, including automatic updates that help protect a PC and Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP, which could leave machines unprotected.

Doug Snyder, director of IT, Deerfield Construction, www.deerfieldconstruction.com, Loveland, Ohio, has analyzed his options for upgrading operating systems, completed testing, and decided to roll out the newest operating system from Microsoft—however it hasn’t been without challenges.

When analyzing the software compatibility with Windows 8.1, he found some programs worked well on the operating system and some programs did not. For example, in some instances, where legacy programs were not compatible with Windows 8.1, Snyder decided to replace or upgrade the program. Such was the case with the company’s existing scheduling program. As such, Snyder will migrate the company to Microsoft Project 2013 for scheduling.

Snyder says there are pros and cons to a new operating system launch project. One benefit is the fact Deerfield Construction will not have to upgrade again when Windows 7 is retired, which will free up IT resources to focus on other strategic IT initiatives and company objectives. Additionally, tablets and other windows devices will now have the same operating system.

Still, with a launch such as this, training employees on the new operating system took some time and planning. In the case of Deerfield Construction, not only was the operating system replaced, but other software, such as the scheduling system, was upgraded as well. Additionally, Snyder says new hardware will likely be needed as well to run the new operating system.

His advice to others is to consider two key questions: First, do I upgrade the operating system on existing hardware or get the new operating system on new hardware? Also, will existing software run on 8.1 and if not, will I upgrade, replace, or maintain it on a protected legacy system until a compatible version is available? Snyder also says testing is key to ensuring everything works properly.

As companies such as Microsoft look to invest resources in new technologies, construction firms will need to determine the best means of upgrading to new operating systems.