Windows XP Discontinued By Microsoft – What To Do Now
As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows XP. Users of the popular operating system, released in 2001 and still in use by an estimated 35% of all computers in the US, will no longer receive updates or security patches. This will now pose potentially serious security risks to those who continue to use it.
So what to do if you are still using Windows XP?
First, check to make sure that you are using Windows XP. Microsoft has set up a site, called AmIRunningXP.com. Go there and check: the website will instantly tell you whether the operating system you are using is Windows XP or not. We checked Mr. Speedy Plumbing’s computer system, and we were informed, “You are NOT running Windows XP”. But we were just checking – we already knew that.
Once you are certain that you are using Windows XP, Microsoft says you should do one of the following:
• Install a newer version of Windows like Windows 7 or Windows 8. (Check that your computer can handle these new operating systems.)
• If your computer cannot handle a new operating system, Microsoft says you must buy a new computer.
If you continue to use Windows XP, Microsoft advises you to copy sensitive files onto another storage device, such as an external hard drive or a USB flash drive, and then delete those files from the Windows XP computer. Microsoft also recommends you disconnect your computer’s Internet connection. These moves will prevent hackers from accessing your unprotected sensitive information.
Some banks still use a different version of Windows XP in their ATM systems. Microsoft will continue to provide support for these systems.
Microsoft is providing some motivation for you to upgrade to the newer operating systems: they are offering a $100 gift card to Windows XP users who buy a new Windows 8 machine. Best Buy is also offering a $100 credit towards a new computer if you turn in your old Windows XP computer to them. The credit can be used to purchase a new PC, an Apple Mac computer, or a Google Chromebook computer.
Computerworld magazine estimates that in spite of all these security risks, about 25% of all computers in the US will still be using Windows XP at the end of 2014. Happy upgrading!
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