Home or office computers running the Microsoft Office Windows XP operating system (OS) received alerts in recent weeks informing them that as of Tuesday, April 8th Microsoft will no longer provide support for the OS.
Microsoft states, “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.”
Like the Little Red Hen, some computer users view this warning as: “The sky is falling! Windows XP is expiring!”
Despite more than a year’s worth of warnings about the expiration of support, Microsoft Windows XP is the number two OS for computers worldwide. Consumers, businesses and even government agencies delayed changing operating systems. In fact, the United Kingdom secured an additional 12 months of support for Windows XP on its computers from Microsoft at a cost of approximately £5.5 million.
Consumers without the deep pockets of the UK government need to know what to expect once Microsoft discontinues support of Windows XP.
According to Michael Silver, Gartner Research vice-president and research director, it’s possible that cyber criminals have already created exploits to which the unsupported OS will open to attack. Silver believes that some known but unexploited vulnerabilities in XP may be subject to new attacks in the coming weeks.
What can consumers do to protect their data after April 8th or 9th?
1.) Have an updated Antivirus program on the computer
2.) Update from the Windows XP operating system to either Windows 7 or Windows 8 on the current PC
3.) Migrate to free, secure Linux software such as Ubuntu
4.) Purchase a new computer with either Windows 7, Windows 8, or the Apple iOS
Prior to deciding whether to upgrade the operating system on an XP computer or purchasing a new computer, check to make sure that the current computer has the necessary system requirements for an upgrade. Click on the links below.
- System requirements for a Windows 7 upgrade: http://bit.ly/1febasn
- System requirements for a Windows 8 upgrade: http://bit.ly/1mDFfp3
- System requirements for Ubuntu migration: http://bit.ly/1qddKDz
Consumers who make a decision to purchase a new PC may be able to request either the Windows 7 or Windows 8 OS installation. If a customer prefers Windows 7 to Windows 8, he or she must make the request when ordering the PC online or making an in-store purchase.
Additional information that may help determine the most appropriate choices:
Microsoft Windows XP End of Support: http://bit.ly/1lHikun
Differences Between Windows 7 and Windows 8: http://bit.ly/1j8BiWA
Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7: http://bit.ly/1idYrGB
Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 8: http://bit.ly/1mYSYEj
PC Magazine “Windows XP Survival Guide” http://bit.ly/1in2U9g
Lifehacker “How to Move On from Windows XP Without Giving Up Your PC” http://bit.ly/1eemEd1
Laptop Magazine “Best Laptops of 2014” http://bit.ly/N1Vdf4