Microsoft has reminded Windows XP users that the operating system will lose security support from the company in under 1,000 days' time. Stephen Rose, community and social media manager for Microsoft, wrote a blog post to mark the system's deadline. He said that "Windows XP had an amazing run and millions of PC users are grateful for it. But it's time to move on."
Microsoft will drop all support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. That doesn't mean that XP-equipped computers will all halt at that time. If you have a Windows XP system, it will probably continue to operate as normal after the "drop dead" date. However, if new system bugs are found after that date or if new viruses or other security problems arise that are specific to only Windows XP, Microsoft will not fix the problem(s). Third-party companies may or may not be able to offer fixes. Until an insurmountable problem arises, Windows XP will continue to operate "as is."
With a ten-year-old operating system in use in millions of computers worldwide, the odds of discovering new security bugs within the operating system itself are slim. After all, everything has already been well tested. However, new viruses, trojan horses, or other security problems are not only possible, they are even likely. If security problems should occur, the Windows XP user will be left with no support from Microsoft.
Upgrading to Vista or Windows 7 may not be an option for older computers that do not have enough processing power or enough memory to run the newer versions of Windows. Generally speaking, purchasing more memory or faster CPUs is not cost-effective. It is generally cheaper to purchase a new, more powerful computer than it is to upgrade an old one. The new computers generally also include Windows 7 pre-installed, reducing the expense and inconvenience still further. Another option is to reformat the older hard drive and install Linux, an operating system that does not require as much memory or processing power. Linux is also much less susceptible to security problems.
Windows XP is an aging, but popular, operating system. Windows XP remains as the most popular operating system Microsoft ever produced. One recent survey indicates that Windows XP is still used on 51 per cent of all computers worldwide. That's an amazing figure for an operating system first released ten years ago. Windows Vista and Windows 7 combined do not have that many users.
You can read more in Stephen Rose's article in the Windows Team Blog (an official Microsoft publication) at http://goo.gl/3B23X.
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