A mere twelve and a half years after its launch, Microsoft has finally pulled the plug on Windows XP officially ending any further support for the long lived and much beloved operating system. The OS lived far longer than Microsoft had ever hoped. Reaching new heights with the failed launch of Windows Vista and still holding a strong market share even after Windows 7 and Windows 8 were launched.
Mainstream support for Windows XP ended five years ago, in April 2009, and since then, the company has been providing ‘extended support’ for the OS. Today, April 8, 2014, marks the official end of the extended support phase for Windows XP (and also for Office 2003) – from today, Microsoft will no longer offer free security patches, updates or fixes of any kind to users of Windows XP across the globe, including consumers and businesses alike.
Although Microsoft officially ends its support for Windows XP today, there is no for mass panic to spread out across the web. Your computer will not immediately shut itself down, or spontaneously self-destruct. In fact, most of you probably won’t notice any real difference at all. The main risk here is that, according to most security researchers hackers are waiting at the gates with exploits that could soon be launched to target the masses of Windows XP computers that are still accessing the web worldwide.
For those of you, like myself, that still have at least one Windows XP based machine on their network there are still a few options for securing your machines and keeping them safe. However, those options are slowly fading away, with many companies slowing ending support for aging OS.
I still have Windows XP what are my options now?Windows XP will no longer be a viable long term option. At some point every company out there that hasn't already ended support will. For the short term you'll want to at the very least find a good security suite and malware detector. Microsoft will continue to provide basic security protection for Windows XP through its Security Essentials suite and the anti-malware Malicious Software Removal Tool; both of these will continue to be updated through to July 14, 2015. However, a third party option may still be in order. You'll also want to make sure all of your current applications, plugins ect are fully patched and updated.
Short of all that you'll want to start looking for a long term solution. This would require either upgrading to a newer Windows based OS, perhaps buying a new computer or taking the plunge and checking out something entirely different altogether. There are several great Linux distributions out there that are extremely user friendly. There is also the option of Google’s streamlined Chrome OS, which is available on notebooks and desktops that might feel more familiar to XP users.
Either way you go you would be much better off taking the leap sooner rather than later!