If you purchased your POS system prior to 2011, you can likely commiserate with our customers currently upgrading their Windows XP-based point of sale systems. As we’ve previously discussed, Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP in early April, which instantly made all systems continuing to utilize XP fall out of PCI compliance. The industry is still seeing a surge of activity as merchants upgrade their systems.
The most common question we get is this: Can I just install Windows 7 on my current system and be done with this?
Well, maybe. But probably not.
First, your current computer might not be able to accept Windows 7. Many of the systems we’ve seen in the field have 1 GB of RAM – that’s won’t cut it with Windows 7.
Next, assuming you check the box on the first issue, reinstalling a new operating system will wipe your current system. What does that mean? First, your current database will be deleted. That’s easily avoidable however by simply backing up your database and then reimporting, but it adds complexity to the process. More importantly, however, all your drivers will be deleted as well when you install Windows 7.
What’s a driver? A driver is a software that allows your computer to communicate with other hardware devices (i.e., printers, scanners, scales, PIN pads, etc.). So, even if you save your database and install your POS software correctly, your computer can’t recognize any of its peripheral devices. Great…
OK, now let’s assume you’ve navigated all the potential pitfalls and you’re looking to reload your POS software. Well, this presents another problem. The software version you’ve been running might not be compatible with Windows 7. And if you upgrade your software to alleviate this problem, now your payment processing software just broke its link with your POS software, so now you can’t accept credit cards.
And the list goes on and on... I'm not saying it's impossible - we've done it for a handful of customers - but you better know what you're doing and you better be ready to invest several hours to the process. This is why 90 percent of the customers we've upgraded have simply decided to purchase a new machine.
Upgrading from Windows XP has presented the industry a unique set of challenges, but with the right POS partner, these can be navigated to ensure you have the right POS system for years to come.