When STEP Members contact me for technical help on using our online services, the advice I provide is often based on the operating system of their computer. Most members are using a recent version of Windows but some are still running Windows XP, which increasingly is going to affect how you access STEP’s online tools.
Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP earlier this month, bringing the longest standing Microsoft operating system to the end of its life after 13 years. With estimates suggesting that one in five PCs still run XP, this leaves many people with a decision to make regarding whether they’re willing to invest in an upgrade or risk future security issues. While I’m not here to advocate one way of structuring your
IT setup over another, I’m of the opinion that anyone that relies on their computer on a daily basis should definitely invest in at least a Windows upgrade if not a new computer. Microsoft has three main statuses for their products in terms of support, which are:
- Mainstream support – this is for current products such as Windows 8 and guarantees that security updates, bug fixes and new features will be added as required (Windows 7 is currently due to end mainstream support in January 2015)
- Extended support – this is for older products (such as Windows Vista) and guarantees security updates only
- End of life – this is for retired products such as Windows XP and Office 2003 and does not offer ANY bug fixes or security updates without a paid contract. This means that if an issue occurs that requires a software update then it will not be provided unless you have an expensive contract agreement in place. With the recent Heartbleed exploit making headlines, it reminds us just how serious security breaches can be. Although patches weren’t required for Windows XP or other operating systems in this instance, there are no guarantees that this scenario won’t occur in future.
For more information on upgrading your computer, including handy tools for checking whether your current computer can run Windows 8 and information on how to migrate your data to a new computer, you can see an overview here and some more technical detail here
In February we launched www.stepwebevents.org which is our online source for the latest industry and technical discussions, presentations and updates for the international and domestic tax, trust and estate planning community. The death of Windows XP may not seem to have anything to do with the launch, but I’ve been talking with a number of members wanting to know which operating systems, browsers and other software are supported by the site, so here’s the lowdown:
The underlying technology for playing the video content on the site is JW Player, which is a widely used platform offering support for the following:
Desktop Browsers – please note: the last version of Internet Explorer available for Windows XP is 8, so you will need Flash player on Windows XP
This table lists which desktop browsers are fully supported by JW Player:
|Internet Explorer 8||–||yes|
|Internet Explorer 9+||yes||yes|
This table lists which mobile devices are officially supported by JW Player, using HTML5:
|Safari on iPhone||yes||–|
|Safari on iPad||yes||–|
|Chrome on Android 4||yes||–|
|Browser on Android 4||yes||–|
An up-to-date IT set up will ensure you’re best placed to make full use of STEP’s online tools. If you have any queries about Windows XP or our new Web Events site and how to access it please feel free to contact me.
James Harris is STEP’s Information Technology Manager.