Windows 7 and the RIPs Running Under It

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

By now you’ve probably heard that Microsoft will end extended support for Windows 7 in less than 90 days. This means that as of January 14, 2020, security updates will no longer be pushed to Windows 7 users - which could leave them exposed to malicious threats. Since Windows 7 hit the mainstream in 2009, thousands of Harlequin RIPs from version 8 through 10 have been running under this venerable OS. Prepress departments (which by their nature receive hundreds of thousands of “outside” job files) could be extremely vulnerable.

In the past few weeks I’ve received several calls from proactive IT departments looking to move the RIP software off of these platforms and onto Windows 10. That’s the good news. The bad news is that for every printing company with a proactive in-house IT squad, there are probably 50 who rely on their prepress operators or “Old Joe out back” (who knows a thing or two about computers) to keep their systems running. It’s these folks I worry about. Anybody who’s had to run prepress production in a busy shop will likely admit that system maintenance often takes a back seat to keeping the presses fed. So for those shops, here are the FAQs:

Can I just install my Harlequin version 7 (or 8, or 9, or 10 or 11) RIP on Windows 10 and be OK?

Probably not. First, none of these are explicitly supported under Windows 10. Second, if you are running Harlequin 7, you are probably using a PCI card as an interface to the CTP engine. This will have to be replaced with a USB interface and Harlequin 7 won’t know how to talk to it. In this case, you will have to upgrade the RIP and interface together. If you are running version 8, 9, 10, or 11, it gets easier. Those RIPs are probably already using USB interfaces to the CTP engines so the only hardware change will likely be the computer. However, the RIP software will still need to be upgraded in order to function properly in a Windows 10 environment.

How much is this going to cost?

Every installation is different. Here are the variables:

Which version of software do you have now?

Will you need a new CTP interface?

Will you need a new computer?

Do you prefer a dongle (see this blog entry) license or a “soft lock?”

Do you need assistance with installation?

Do you want to add options or functionality?

At first read, this list of criteria may seem onerous. I can assure you it isn’t. A short phone call with someone at Xitron - or an authorized dealer - can fill in the blanks. Remember, we’re the guys who prolong the value of that expensive CTP engine so we’re going to help you move forward as economically as possible.

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Xitron is the leading developer of the Harlequin RIP, Harlequin RIP based workflow, and TIFF Catcher software designed for computer-to-plate (CTP), digital output, high-speed inkjet, and direct-to-press systems. The Navigator RIP has long been recognized around the world as a best in class implementation of software RIP technology with over 35,000 installations worldwide in commercial offset, web offset, flexo, packaging, screen printing, and transactional data applications. Offering "prepress independence®," Xitron systems are compatible with virtually every output system available today. Solutions include Screen PTR RIP kits, Agfa RIP kits, Scitex RIP Kits, ECRM RIP Kits, Creo RIP Kits, QMDI RIPs and many others.

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