As of March 2013, Windows XP was still powering 38% of PCs and laptops worldwide.
Released in October 2001, Windows XP was phased out by Microsoft in April 2014 when extended support for the operating system ended. By the time it retires, the operating system will have enjoyed an amazingly long run – over 13 years – which is a venerable age in software terms.
After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will release no new security updates. This means that any new vulnerabilities discovered in Windows XP after its “end of life” will not be addressed by new security updates from Microsoft.
So anyone continuing to use Windows XP on computers connected to the internet will be increasingly exposed to risk of hacking, viruses and malware.
Antivirus Software Compatibility ending for Windows XP after April 2014
It is likely that antivirus providers will also stop supporting Windows XP. Microsoft’s own Antivirus product Microsoft Security Essentials will stop providing Antivirus updates for Windows XP systems after April 2014.
It is highly likely that other antivirus vendors such as AVG, Avast, McAfee, Symantec etc will cease supporting Windows XP in their 2015 product releases – we can expect AVG Antivirus 2015 not to be installable on Windows XP machines.
Google to support Chrome Browser for Windows XP until April 2015
In a surprising move Google made the following announcement:
“On April 8, 2014, after more than a decade of powering many of the world’s computers, Windows XP will officially retire. Like all technologies that come to their end-of-life, the XP operating system and most of its desktop applications will no longer receive updates and security patches. Since unpatched browser bugs are often used by malware to infect computers, we’re extending support for Chrome on Windows XP, and will continue to provide regular updates and security patches until at least April 2015.
We recognize that hundreds of millions of users, including a good chunk of current Chrome users, still rely on XP. Moreover, many organizations still run dozens or even hundreds of applications on XP and may have trouble migrating. Our goal is to support Chrome for XP users during this transition process. Most importantly, Chrome on XP will still be automatically updated with the latest security fixes to protect against malware and phishing attacks.”
What are my options?
Continue to use XP but Stop Connecting to the Internet
- If you don’t connect to the internet with your XP-based PC or laptop, you can probably continue to use it for tasks like Word Processing. You may have older programs which you want to continue to run – a customer of mine had a Music-cataloguing program that was released for Windows 98 that would work on Windows XP but not on Windows 7. If you disconnect the machine from the internet you are much less likely to pick up a virus – but not completely safe – viruses can still be transmitted by USB memory-keys, so you can get infected by plugging in an infected USB key. Unlikely, but still possible.
Upgrade to Windows 7
- This depends on the age and performance of your PC or laptop which is running Windows XP. If it is running fine, you may want to consider purchasing a Windows 7 upgrade – licence keys are available on Amazon (you would be advised to check the validity of the key with the vendor) and you can download the Windows 7 installation software and burn it to a DVD to install.
- It is possible that your machine may run somewhat faster with Windows 7.
- Microsoft have a tutorial here for upgrading to Windows 7 from XP
- It is possible that Windows 7 – compatible drivers for some of your hardware components might not be available – this is the kind of thing you may run into – where the brightness control on a laptop upgraded to Windows 7 doesn’t work. For the same reason it is inadvisable to install a 64bit version of Windows 7 onto an old PC.
- You should have at least 2gb RAM Memory – you can add RAM quite easily – see this article
- It is not recommended to upgrade and old PC to Windows 8. You cannot upgrade directly (you would have install a clean copy of Windows 8) and it is likely that hardware components will not be supported. It can be done – read about one person’s experience here
Buy a new PC running Windows 7 or Windows 8
- Save the hassle and expense of upgrading your existing machine, and buy a new PC or Laptop
- Windows 7 is still widely available on new PCs
- Buy a new Windows 7 PC from Dell and save 40%
- Microsoft’s support for Windows 7 will persist until 2020.
- Most software programs that run on Windows XP will work fine on Windows 7
- the transition from XP to Windows 7 is not difficult – the two operating systems work in quite similar ways, so the transition will not be as jarring as with Windows 8
- You can easily transfer files and settings from your old XP – PC to your new Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC using a Belkin PC to PC USB Windows 7 Easy Transfer Cable
Install Ubuntu Linux and give my old PC a new lease of life
- Give an old computer a new life, using Ubuntu Linux – a free, secure, open-source operating system – it will run faster, connect securely to the internet and will breathe new life into your old PC or laptop
- Follow the instructions in the guide from MakeUseOf.com. This free guide outlines everything you need to know to get Ubuntu up and running on old computers.
- Download the guide: Old Computer, New Life: Restoring Old Hardware With Ubuntu
“While striving to sell more and more products, marketing departments want us to believe that PCs, laptops and netbooks become obsolete after a couple of years, and not replacing them makes us Luddites. It’s not true.
Word processing, Internet surfing, watching movies – either from DVDs or from your friends at the Pirate Bay – shouldn’t make your old system think twice, granted it is configured correctly, up-to-date and has a operating system that’s efficient, performance oriented, and free as in free beer and free speech.”