If you've got any computers running Windows XP around your school, TAFE or university, then you've got less than a year to do something serious about it.
Windows XP is more than 12 years old now, as it was launched in 2001 - and like all good things, it's coming to an end. In less than a year in fact. Windows XP officially ends it's supported phase on April 8, 2014 – which means that after that time we'll no longer issue security updates or provide tech support.
You might think that it seems a bit sudden, but we have been warning about the end of life of Windows XP for a while (I nudged gently last year), and Windows XP has been around a lot longer than most other technology you and your students use every day (like the iPod, Xbox, iTunes, 3G Phones, LinkedIn, Skype and Facebook – all of which have been invented since Windows XP).
There's no shortage of advice designed to help you move to later versions of Windows (and almost every education customer in Australia will already have the licences for later versions of Windows), including Windows deployment guidance, Jumpstart programmes, and the excellent Springboard series on TechNet.
And if that isn't enough incentive, think about what you might lose when your old XP systems become unsupported and don't get security updates. Not only a greater risk of malware, but the fact that some systems come to a halt (take a look at where you're still running Windows XP and it's likely to be 'mission critical' systems like Point of Sales in your uniform shop/campus store, or some backend system that's running a key piece of software like a student reporting system, which will cause eruptions in the office if it stops).
There's plenty of technical advice, but my main piece of non-technical advice is: Get started on your plan before it's too late to get finished on the implementation before 8th April next year.