Do You Check Expiration Dates?

downloadThis week, my family just finished a bottle of barbecue sauce – that had expired two years ago! A friend had given us the bottle in April, and I didn’t notice the expiration until we had already finished the bottle. Ironically, I had put the bottle upside down, so we could get all of the remaining sauce and was just turning it back upright, when I noticed the long-ago expiration. Yuck!

Amazingly, we were all fine.  There’s probably so much salt in barbecue sauce that it will last almost forever. But, 2 years past expiration isn’t going to work for everything – and software is included in that category.

Even though software doesn’t come with an expiration date, old software has its risks. In particular, if you’re still using Windows XP®, the “expiration date” has passed.

We’ve discussed XP obsolescence before, and we’re still talking about this topic because many HMI/SCADA users are on XP. Prasad Pai, our HMI/SCADA leader, estimates that in the water/wastewater industry alone, 75% of SCADA users are still on XP.

Here are the facts, with help from Bernard Cubizolles:

Windows XP is well over 10 years old and no longer supported by Microsoft. You need to move forward now from XP to a newer, supported operating system and upgrade your HMI/SCADA. Here are the good reasons why …

  • Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP on April 8, 2014.
  • Technical assistance for Windows XP is no longer available, including automatic updates that help protect your equipment.
  • Microsoft will continue to provide updates to anti-malware signatures and the engine for Windows XP users through July 14, 2015.
  • No security updates for existing MSE users.

In software time, Windows XP is really old. Remember 2001, when XP was launched?

  • Apple released the first iPod®.
  • There were no smartphones, tablets or the cloud at that time.
  • Hacking was prevalent in the consumer space but relatively unknown in the industrial space.

If you are still using XP, your plant operations are at risk, and you can justify an upgrade. Download our new ezine, “HMI/SCADA Users: Say Goodbye to Windows XP!” for information that you can share with your team. And, as always, GE can help – reach out to us. We’re committed to helping you reduce risk in your plant operations.



Alicia Bowers

Alicia Bowers believes that automation software can help industrial organizations overcome many challenges, including retiring workforces, global competition, and tightening regulations. She has published in industry magazines, ranging from Food Manufacturing to Hydrocarbon Engineering, and is the recipient of a MESA Outstanding Contribution Award. Connect with Alicia on LinkedIn.

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