I'm proud to say that I've managed to keep about 1/2 the office running on Windows XP. Not only do the XP machines run, they run well. I've jacked the memory on all XP machines to the maximum allowed, I've replaced old HDDs with new SSDs, and I've optimized the heck each machine. Some of our old XP machines run faster than our newer Windows 8 machines.
Here's the question, with the XP End-of-Life looming next April, do I simply throw in the towel with all these machines, or can I prolong their lives?
Upgrading the OS on these machines to Windows 7 or Windows 8 is probably out of the question because I'm going to run into so many driver issue. (Feel free to disagree me. That's why I'm posting this question.)
It occurred to me that I could install a VM environment in these machines, running a Windows 8 "functional" OS inside an XP "shell." This work-around would handle the driver issue, but I'm concerned that the performance hit would make configuration problematic. I'm also concerned that this configuration might leave me exposed with XP. While users wouldn't actively be using XP, it would be running in the background and the no-longer-supported OS would be vulnerable to malware.
Finally, I'm wondering if a third party might continue to provide patches for XP (and perhaps Office 2003 as well.) Is it possible that another party might be willing to continue to provide patches for a monthly fee?