No, it’s not the end of the world, but Microsoft has announced the end of Support for Windows XP. This should come as no surprise as the 12 year old OS has been becoming an eyesore in the technical repair field. Support was scheduled to end years ago, but delayed to give those users the time to upgrade. Months remain until support ends in April.
Don’t get me wrong, Windows XP was a fine operating system and arguable the best option back in 2001 and was well received for the last decade. Microsoft, hardware and software vendors are all looking to the future as the computing landscape changes. As we move in to the later half of the year, you’ll find fewer software and hardware device on market that support Windows XP. Yet, the real problem for anyone that does not want to upgrade is security. Microsoft will no longer patch the OS, nor provide Security Essentials. Other software vendors will likely follow suit. This simply means that Windows XP will be extremely vulnerable to hackers and malware. The bad guys writing that malware know how many users are out there and anticipate a large group that will not upgrade. These users will be targeted, it’s the sad truth. If they see a way to exploit a vulnerability, they will. Microsoft’s statement as issued on their website is as follows.
“Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But now the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.
As a result, after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date. (If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive antimalware signature updates for a limited time, but this does not mean that your PC will be secure because Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates to help protect your PC.)
If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Also, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter greater numbers of apps and devices that do not work with Windows XP. “ Source Microsoft [http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help]
If you are running Windows XP, we suggest you upgrade. Windows 8.1 is best option out there. Yes, it is different- but don’t let that scare you away. 90% of my personal customers and clients have upgraded with little difficulty, in fact many of them are much happier and would not even consider going back to even Windows 7. That being said, should you buy a new computer or simply upgrade your existing PC? The majority of you will be much better off buying a newer computer and taking advantage of all the advancements of the last decade. If on the other hand, you’d like to upgrade we suggest downloading Microsoft’s Windows Upgrade Assistant . In either case, you’ll want to backup your personal files and be prepared to buy newer versions of your favorite software. Some hardware devices may also be incompatible, though we have seen many older devices and software run just fine on Windows 8.1.