When Windows XP was first released with it's fancy new two-column start menu and bright green Start button, I was a little hesitant to get excited about the updated interface. In fact I customized mine to look and feel like Windows 98 at first, but I soon accepted the change and moved forward with all the new features. As it turned out, Windows XP was rock solid. Windows 98 had been a hassle with many random system crashes and general instability. Windows XP was much more stable and was compatible with so much more hardware. There is still the Blue Screen of Death, but those are usually caused by something diagnosable and fixable.
After Windows XP, Microsoft released Windows Vista, which was a flop. It was not nearly as stable as Windows XP, so Microsoft started a rewrite and soon released Windows 7, which so far has proven to be every bit as reliable as XP has been all these years.
Unfortunately, Microsoft cannot go on supporting older operating systems forever, so the end of life for Windows XP is set for April 8, 2014. Now as a typical user, you probably do not call on Microsoft for computer support so you may be thinking "What does this mean to me?"
Here is what it means to you
- No more driver updates. Currently, your automatic updates in Windows XP load new drivers to improve compatibility with existing and new hardware like monitors, printers and other devices.
- No more XP drivers from hardware manufacturers. You will no longer be able to find printers and other peripherals that are compatible with Windows XP, because those manufacturers will not take the time to write drivers for an unsupported operating system.
- No more updates to Internet Explorer. Many users are already having this problem. Internet Explorer 8 was the last Microsoft web browser released for Windows XP and is no longer compatible with many web sites. Internet Explorer 9 uses some new technology that is not available in Windows XP. As the technology used to build web sites advances, so must the web browsers. For the time being, installing Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is a work around for this problem.
- No more security updates. This is the most important issue. When your Windows XP runs updates, much of what it is installing are security updates to fix new found way of breaching safe guards in the operating system. Virus and spyware authors are very creative and find ways around the safe guards. When they do, Microsoft releases updates to reinforce them. This will leave all Windows XP computers with an internet connection somewhat defenseless against new attacks. Security vulnerabilities will be found and patched in Windows Vista, 7 and 8. When they are, the bad guys will look to see if those same vulnerabilities existed in Windows XP and will be able to walk right in so to speak when they find them because there will be no updates to address those issues.
So what can I do?
Really you only have two choices. You can purchase Windows 8.1 for about $120 and install that on your old computer or simply replace the computer. If your computer is old enough that it came with Windows XP installed, it is probably time for a new computer anyway.
If you are not a fan of Windows 8.1, we still build rock solid computers running Windows 7 and they are available with a three year warranty. You won't find Windows 7 in the big retail stores. We can also move all your files and help you get all your programs setup and running on a new computer no matter where you buy it.
If you need help deciding what to do with your Windows XP computer, give Preactive IT Solutions a call at (281) 494-0894.