Today may be the first day of the rest of your life, but for those still hanging on to Windows XP, it is the last day that Microsoft will continue supporting the aging operating system that has had more lives than an Internet full of cat GIFs. Beginning tomorrow, April 8, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. Systems running the 12 year old operating system will still run, but Microsoft will not be issuing security or other updates.
There are many reasons why some users are still running Windows XP. Most of those reasons revolve around an investment in time and money. Some businesses are running in-house software that won’t work with more recent operating system updates from Microsoft. Some home users don’t want to spend the time or cash to update a computer that seems to be working just fine for them.
When Microsoft pulls the plug it will not only stop offering technical assistance, it will discontinue updating and patching Microsoft Security Essentials, although signature updates will continue until July 14, 2015. This means your XP computers are increasingly subject to attack by malware.
Microsoft has been touting the deadline for some time now. Beginning back on March 8th they even launched a pop-up campaign to remind users the end of Windows XP support was near. Apparently 27% of computers worldwide are running Windows XP, so there is a lot of upgrading that probably needs to happen. Keep in mind that Windows XP runs on a number of different types of systems that include being embedded in some business machines like ATMs. Some fear that malefactors are just waiting for April 8 to launch a series of malware attacks.
Those with some older machines can move to the latest Windows operating system, Windows 8, but that can be problematic on older hardware. In fact, many XP generation computers don’t have the hardware specs necessary to run Windows 8 or 8.1. Some companies like Dell and HP still offer computers with Windows 7.
Note that for those considering Windows 8.1, Microsoft will make the new Windows 8.1 Update 1 available tomorrow. Designed to appeal to keyboard and mouse users, Microsoft hopes the update may attract a few more users to its latest operating system.