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Operating Systems

RIP: The End Is Near for Windows XP

RIP: The End Is Near for Windows XP
February 13, 2014 9:30AM

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Well, it had a good run. Microsoft support for Windows XP is set to end on April 8, meaning Microsoft will no longer issue patches or system updates to protect XPs against viruses, spyware and other malware that could result in crashes, or worse, the theft of personal information. But the deadline shouldn't come as a rude awakening.

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Windows XP is so old, it predates 9/11. The software first landed on personal computers sold to consumers and businesses way back in August 2001. Yet more than 12 years later, a substantial number of PCs with Windows XP as their operating system are still in use.

According to consultant Net Applications, XP machines represented a 29.23% market share last month, ahead of all the PC operating systems that came after it except for Windows 7, which has a 47.49% share. Microsoft's more recent operating systems, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, come in with modest 6.63% and 3.95% market shares, respectively, suggesting an area of concern for new CEO Satya Nadella.

The many folks who still rely on Windows XP will have their own major concern to deal with in a few weeks. On April 8, XP reaches the end of the line. No, your XP computer won't suddenly blow up on that date.

But it does mean that official support from Microsoft ceases. Microsoft will no longer issue patches or system updates to protect the machine against viruses, spyware and other malware that could result in crashes, or worse, the theft of personal information. If you run into any other kinds of snags, you won't be able to call Microsoft for technical assistance.

"There is a risk," cautions Microsoft spokesman Tom Murphy. "How big a risk we can't quantify." But Murphy is unequivocal in advising consumers to part ways with the operating system that many have loyally stuck by all these years. "We're really black and white about that," he says.

Though some third-party anti-virus software may provide some protection post-April 8, Microsoft still considers the computer system vulnerable.

The April deadline shouldn't come as a rude awakening. Microsoft announced the date that XP support would end as far back as 2007, but a number of people haven't paid close attention.

IS UPGRADING AN OPTION?

What measures should you take? One option, but only available to a relatively few XP owners, is to upgrade your current machine. You can download Windows 8.1 for $119.99 or 8.1 Pro for $199.99.

But make sure your PC meets the minimum system requirements: a 1-GHz processor, 1 gigabyte of RAM (for a 32-bit system) or 2 gigs (for 64-bit) and 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit) of storage.

If your PC meets the requirements, make sure you install the proper Windows 8.1 software, either the 32-bit or 64-bit installation disc. (This bit about bits refers to how the PC processor handles information. One way to find the specs on your old XP machine: right-click My Computer and click Properties.) (continued...)

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© 2014 USA TODAY syndicated under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Mark Turner:

Posted: 2014-03-29 @ 3:20pm PT
Many serious gamers still run xp, as for myself, I have several laptops and desktop pc's designed for W98 that run xp (in a stripped down form) as security monitors and servers. Why should I replace perfectly servicable hardware? And, why must i spend ££££ for an operating system that uses more system rescources as mere overhead than the tasks I require from it do?

George:

Posted: 2014-02-13 @ 5:18pm PT
I downloaded Robolinux (It's Frree) which runs XP totally immune to viruses inside it, thanks to their innovative stealth sync technology. I don't need any AV software or security updates anymore. It saved me hundreds of dollars too.



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