According to Microsoft Support, Windows XP will no longer be provided with support or updates after April 8, 2014. All technology has a lifecycle and it seems we are quickly approaching the end of Windows XP. Many users are likely still using this operating system (OS) and will likely have some questions.
What does this mean to your device? Here are the things to know about unsupported software.
- A computer with an older operating system (OS), including Windows XP or Windows Vista, will continue to work, and the user may not notice anything remarkable in the success of the computer and installed programs.
- An unsupported OS could be more vulnerable to security risks including viruses, spyware, and other malicious software designed to steal your personal information.
- Windows Update will install current software updates. When the support is no longer available, you may find that your device has software compatibility issues. For example, the newest release of Internet Explorer cannot be used on Windows Vista.
- Microsoft Security Essentials will no longer be available for download to a Windows XP device. The program would continue to operate if you already have it installed, however, it will not be receiving any security updates.
What action do you need to take? Three choices are available for users of Windows XP.
- Do nothing. Weight the security threats against how the device is used. For example, a computer that is not connected to the internet will have no concern for security attacks.
- Upgrade to Windows 8.1. Not all devices will be compatible for an OS upgrade. Windows does provide an Upgrade Assistant to review your system compatibility. Keep in mind, that software installed on an older OS may not be compatible with Window 8.1, including earlier versions of Microsoft Office or other specialized programs. Meaning a system upgrade will also require purchasing all new software, either by download, disc, or with a subscription. The OS upgrade for Windows XP must be done with a DVD; a download will not be available. Just be sure to check compatibility before buying the disc.
- Buy a new computer. For the user that is concerned about data security and the ability to maintain the most current devices and software, an upgraded OS is a must. Not many older computers will run a current Windows version. Be sure to check your PC against the system requirements to determine which way you need to go.