April 10, 2014 10:50:56 AM
Oktibbeha County Chancery Court officials say they are halfway finished with an office-wide computer overhaul after Microsoft pulled the plug on future support for Windows XP Tuesday, the primary operating software for the old workstations.
Chancery Court Clerk Monica Banks said all courthouse vault computers have been replaced as of Tuesday. A delay in receiving proper hardware adaptors for the office's scanning systems and printers backed up the project's full completion by about a week, she said.
In all, the chancery court uses about 20 computers for its day-to-day operations. Other county offices are also either updating computers, whether with software or hardware, after Microsoft ended support Tuesday for the popular operating system.
Operating systems will continue to function after Microsoft's move, but the company will no longer provide security updates. Without those updates, Marcin Kleczynski, Malwarebytes CEO, told the Associated Press that PCs will be more susceptible to hackers.
The AP also reported about 30 percent of worldwide computers run the 12-year-old operating system.
A February board of supervisors order put the local upgrades in motion. In all, Banks previously estimated the transition would cost about $30,000-$45,000, but the price tag is now believed to fall below the $20,000-mark.
"Right now, we're at about $15,000 (in computer update costs), and that was just to get all of the systems," she said. "With the few loose ends I have to tie - adaptors, mainly - we might not even reach $20,000."
Computers with newer operating systems will not only receive security updates, but also help improve the office's workflow, she said. Outdated equipment previously turned simple, mundane tasks into time-consuming ordeals.
"We haven't upgraded these computers in years; it was definitely time. Whenever they got slow, a company would come in and maintain them or update (hardware). I'm at (the unit's hardware capacity now with what I have," Banks said. "I didn't realize how far behind the pail we had gotten until they put the new ones in. We're on pins and needles with excitement waiting for the rest to get upgraded."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch