April 8, 2014, will mark the end for one of the longest-running PC operating systems in history as Microsoft officially stops supporting Windows XP. What does this mean? Microsoft will no longer support the Windows XP operating system or any of the programs in its Office 2003 software suite, including Word 2003 and Excel 2003. As a result, Microsoft will also no longer offer bug or security fixes to users of these products.
If your organization has not started the migration to a modern desktop, we recommend that you get started. According to Microsoft, "based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment." To help ensure your entity remains on a supported version of Windows and Office, you should begin your planning and application testing immediately.
Lack of technical support from Microsoft may create serious security issues for computers running Windows XP and/or Office 2003. Computer security experts believe that hackers are targeting that date to unleash a wide variety of malware, which can include computer viruses, “Trojan Horses,” or “worms” which can invade a computer’s system and cause serious damage.
It is very important for all state and local government offices with computers running Windows XP, Office 2003, or any prior versions to update your computers to a supported operating system and software before April 8, 2014. For example, due to the security issues that may occur and due to lack of technical support for Windows XP and Office 2003, it is very likely that various organizations will no longer accept documents saved in the default file format created by Office 2003, which includes Excel files with the extension “.xls,” after April 8, 2014.