In October 2001 Windows XP was released and over the years it has become the most used computer operating system in the world. In the 12 years since there have been three new versions of Windows released - Vista, 7, and 8/8.1, but there are hundreds of millions of computers all over the world still using XP – actually 18% of Windows PCs.
If you’re one of them, you should spend this weekend thinking about what you’re going to do after Tuesday – because on 8 April Microsoft will cease to support Windows XP. While XP is still a great operating system there could be some problems if you continue to use it after that date.
Hopefully I can answer your questions about what it means to you:
What will happen on 8 April 2014?
On that date Microsoft will no longer offer any kind of technical support for Windows XP. That means there will be no more automatic updates from Microsoft – of most concern is no more security updates.
Support is also ending for Internet Explorer 8, which is the default web browser for XP.
Without those security updates your computer could be exposed to malware, viruses and other security threats.
Will my computer still work?
Yes, the end of Microsoft support will have no effect how your computer works.
Should I buy a new computer?
If you've been thinking about it, then yes. Now would be a good time to buy.
If you've been hearing terrible things about Windows 8, then let me reassure you that it’s not that bad, it’s very fast, and if you bypass the modern tiled start screen there’s a familiar XP/Windows 7 style desktop. It has also been rumoured this week that a future update will reintroduce the Start Menu.
Most of the software that you used on your XP computer (unless it’s very old) will still work on Windows 8, or this could be a good opportunity to negotiate with the salesman when buying your new computer to see what software they can throw in - a one year subscription to Office 365 would be good!
To help you move your files from your XP computer to a new one, Microsoft has a free tool – PC Mover Express. This tool will copy your files, music, videos, email, user profiles and settings from your old PC to your new computer running Windows 7, 8 or 8.1.
If I don’t want to buy a new computer what can I do?
- Use a more modern web browser – like Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox. They are both free to download and will be supported on XP computers until at least 2015. This will help to stop your computer being exposed to the most common threats.
- Keep your internet security software up to date.
- If your computer is suitable you could install a new operating system on it - you can still buy Windows 7 installation disks. To check if your computer can run Windows 7 download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.
If I buy a new computer is there anything I can do with my XP computer?
Yes, you’ll have no problems at all if you are not connected to the internet, so maybe keep it as a backup computer or for the kids for games or basic programs.
Have a think this weekend about what you're going to do if you still have an XP computer and if you have any specific questions pop them in a comment below.