Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last few months, you should be well aware that there’s a major change in Windows XP’s status coming soon.
On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will discontinue support of Windows XP SP3, the final service pack version. Support for earlier versions of Windows XP (without any service pack, or with service pack 1 or 2) have already been discontinued.
So, what does end of support for XPSP3 mean? Especially, what does it mean to me?
It means that Microsoft will stop doing updates for Windows XP, even security updates.
Further, Microsoft also announced that Microsoft Security Essentials, the free antivirus/antimalware program from Microsoft, will no longer be available for download to Windows XP computers.
However, if you have Microsoft Security Essentials already installed on your Windows XP computer, they will continue to provide updates for it for a limited time.
If you’re using Windows XP on a computer that’s not on a network, and which doesn’t connect to the Internet, then you don’t have much to worry about. Windows XP will continue to run after April 8th — the issue is that newly discovered holes in Windows XP’s security, as well as any for which the fixes are in the backlog, will no longer be fixed.
If you’re exposing the computer to the Internet, it’s time to change operating systems or change computers.
There are still some Windows 7 computers available in the market, although most consumer computers now are sold with Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. I’d stick with Windows 7 for now.
Other users are taking the opportunity to change to one of the Windows-like versions of Linux, some of which are available as downloadable ISO files to create bootable, runnable DVD’s so you can try them without actually making any chanage to your computer.
If I was going to shift from XP to Linux in the same computer, I would upgrade to a newer hard drive for speed and reliability. I’d take the old drive out and keep it as a spare as a data source.
If you’ve already made the break from Windows XP to a later operating system, you can enjoy your computing, knowing that the end of support for your operating system is still much farther in the future.