January 24, 2014 1 Comment-
Is your computer still running Windows XP? If so, you will need to upgrade soon if you want to keep your computer secure, as the operating system will meet its death on April 8th.
In computer terms, the “death” of an operating system isn’t when it stops working, but when it stops receiving support from the company that created it.
In this case, Windows XP has received almost 12 years of support from Microsoft – a lifetime in terms of computer software. After pushing back this date once before, it’s now finally time for Microsoft to pull the plug on its most beloved OS.
But what does this mean for XP users?
Why this is bad for XP users
When a company stops supporting its operating system, no further security holes will be fixed. Therefore any malware created for Windows XP after this date will continue to work indefinitely.
Anti-virus software that still focuses on Windows XP will continue to fix these infections, but it will be a bigger effort for everyone without Microsoft mending these problems at their source.
While anti-virus companies may be able to fight malware attacking the aged operating system, they can do almost nothing about any hacking exploits that could be found in Windows XP after April 8th.
If, for example, a hacker discovers a way to remotely access files on computers running Windows XP, that’s an issue that Microsoft would typically fix. Not anymore.
The other bad news is that Microsoft’s built-in anti-virus scanner, Microsoft Security Essentials, is being retired, although this should still be supported until 2015. When that happens, Windows XP will have to install dedicated anti-virus software for any level of projection.
What to do?
The only good advice for home users still running Windows XP is to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8, or buy a new computer running one of these. Any computer bought new within the last four years should be running one of these operating systems.
They’re both also much faster than XP, so it’s worth the upgrade.
You could also upgrade to Windows Vista, but that operating system is now almost six years old and was never very popular, and therefore will not give you as long a lifespan as Windows 7 or 8.