The Imminent Demise of Windows XP

If you’re one of the 30% of desktop users still running Windows XP, the countdown is nearly over. On April 8, 2014 (seven days from now) Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, will no longer support Windows XP.

This means no more security updates from Microsoft and device manufacturers (i.e. cameras, phones, etc) may decide to stop creating drivers that work on Windows XP. In short, it’s the beginning of the end of XP.

My parents happen to be one of the 30% and I’ll tell you what I told my Mom when she asked about the warning dialog. You have three options:

1. Stick with XP and cross your fingers

It’s not likely that your computer will spontaneously combust on April 9th, but you are taking a risk. But that may be acceptable to you. If you follow good security practices while browsing and you don’t visit too many strange sites or download unknown attachments, you may be just fine.

2. Upgrade to Windows 7.

Amazon has Windows 7 for about $100. As long as your computer meets the requirements, installing Windows 7 is a great solution. I wouldn’t recommend upgrading to Windows 8. I have used it. It was difficult to use and I would be glad to never use it again.

3. Buy a new computer

If you don’t want to pay $100 for Windows 7, you could buy a new or used low end desktop for $200-$300 that comes with Windows 7. Depending on the age of your computer, this might be the best option. I’m surprised desktop vendors aren’t using this as an opportunity to offer discounts for people using XP.

An even more alarming statistic is the estimated 95% of ATMs running Windows XP. You may want to get some cash now, just in case hackers have a juicy exploit they’re waiting to unleash.

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