Choose Windows 8 if you: You MUST Upgrade from Windows XP Before Tax Season … But Should You Choose Windows 7 or 8? By Mark Torello, CISA, CPA, CITP, CFE hy do you need to upgrade Windows XP before tax season? After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support or provide security patches for XP. This means that after that point, XP will be fair game for hackers, exploits, and other scary things. If you still have XP after this date, you and your clients’ data will be in the “wild, wild west” of the internet – not the place to be in 2014! Prudent advice here ... make the decision now so you have time to install, test, and work out any application bugs well before tax season starts. If you’re still on XP, there is a good chance you have not updated your Mi- 1. Want the latest operating system with its technical (e.g. fast startup) and security improvements. 2. Do not use CPA business applications on your computer; 3. Are entirely in the cloud (head included); W crosoft Office suite either; this is a good time to bite the bullet and buy Office 2013 (or the version that your major applications state compatibility with). With the use of CPA electronic workpapers and tax systems, there are more hooks (integration) with Microsoft Office than ever before. There are likely to be some technical challenges with this upgrade. Now that you are convinced you must make the change before the first snowfall, you must select your next operating system. Will it be the tried and true Windows 7 or latest Windows 8, with its modern look and touch screen support? While it does depend on your situation, the decision from my point of view is clear (see sidebar). 4. Are buying a computer for home use with a device that has a touch screen; and 5. Really need the poorly rated Microsoft app for calculating tip percentage on your home desktop. Choose Windows 7 if you: 1. Want your tax software to work; 2. Want to view two applications side-by-side on the screen; 3. Want a similar speed to Windows 8, but with a familiar interface (i.e. a “Start” button); and 4. Prefer not to take risks with your technology investments. Conclusion If you want to take, in my opinion, the sane path and choose Windows 7 Professional for your business while still hedging your bet that Microsoft will fix Windows 8 soon (and your tax software will also soon work with it), you may buy a special license. The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) license version of Windows 8 Professional will come with downgrade rights for Windows 7 Professional. You should be buying the Professional version for your business regardless, but with a new PC you qualify for the OEM license. If you are not buying a new PC, buy Windows 7 Professional. Mark Torello, CISA, CPA, CITP, CFE, is CEO of The Technology Group in Hartford and chair of the CTCPA Technology Committee. Have more questions? Join him and other members at a CTCPA Technology Breakfast! For dates and locations, visit or email 6 paid advertisement