April 18, 2012 2 Comments-
The world’s longest-ever supported operating system, Windows XP, has been set a retirement date: April 8, 2014.
That doesn’t mean all Windows XP (did you know XP stands for Experience?) will stop working from that day onwards, but it does mean that newly discovered security holes will not be patched by Microsoft.
If you’re curious what that actually means for users, try imaging Windows XP as a city and Microsoft as the police force. From April 8th, Microsoft, as the “police”, will stop investigating crimes or making arrests on new criminals. The result is that, over time, the operating system will become increasingly insecure for users.
Windows XP has been on sale since October 2001, meaning that Microsoft will have supported the system for an admirable 12.5 years by the time of its retirement in April 2014. That date also marks the end of support for Office 2003, so if you’re running both, you’ve got a lot of upgrading to do.
Statistics concerning how many Windows XP users there are vary, but Conceivably Tech thinks that around 600 million people are frequently using the OS – or 38% of the market. That means that almost one in ten people need to be made aware of the risks of using XP after April 2014. If you see someone you care about on the OS, it’s a good idea to encourage them to upgrade.
The best option for users interested in upgrading is Windows 7, which is my favourite ever Microsoft OS. It took a lot of inspiration from Apple, and once you get used to the slight changes it all feels much more productive and useful.
Of course, I’d like to remind Windows XP users that Windows 8 is due out October 2012, so if you only want to upgrade once, it’s probably a good idea to hold off until Autumn. And we should warn you that the majority of computers running Windows XP will probably be too slow for Windows 7 or 8 to run properly, so make sure you check your system specs before upgrading.
You can read Microsoft’s farewell post here, although it’s nowhere near as sentimental as we’d have liked. The majority of computer users in the world would have seen Windows XP for a large portion of their computing life, and I find it a little sad to see it go. What do you think?
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