Sunday

Windows XP Will Soon Become A Time Bomb

If you are using Windows XP on your home PC or laptop, you are running out of time; "extended support" for XP will be cut off April 8, 2014 by Microsoft. In fact, I have a counter on the right side of this page to show how many days you have left. What XP users need to realize though, is that once the support period expires, there will be no more Windows Updates for XP, which in a very real sense makes it a ticking time bomb - security vulnerabilities will no longer be fixed for Windows XP.


You could go out and buy an upgrade to the current version of Windows, or get a new computer. I suspect that's what most of us will do and there is nothing wrong with that (except that it's expensive). It sort of depends on what you use the computer for; if you are a pretty typical user and surf the web, use email, listen to music and write letters, you can use any operating system and almost any hardware for that - Apple's OS X (also expensive), almost any of the Linux versions, or even Chrome OS.

The really cheap-and-cheerful option would be to load a Linux distribution onto your existing PC; you would copy your data, reload your old computer with a suitable version of Linux, restore your data and carry on. You would then have a modern OS that is regularly updated. Several Linux versions (or "distros") are designed to be "Windows-like" and will run well on computers that were designed for Windows XP. Zorin OS is a good example (see my short video below). A lot of free software is available on Linux that gives similar functionality to things like Microsoft Office for example, if you need that.



Most operating systems mentioned above, and even the tablet OS's like Android and Apple's iOS (iOS is for Apple phones and tablets, OS X is for desktops and notebooks) also already come with all or most of the software you need for the everyday computing. 

You do have quite a few options, and it's probably worthwhile starting to think about it now. If you have a friend who uses Apple or Android products, see if you can try them out - same with Linux, or Windows 8. Even ten or 20 minutes will give you at least a feel for the differences, and if you have specific needs (such as digital image editing or audio editing), you can always ask them if those things are available for their system.

You don't want to be sitting around in April when XP support does get cut off and make a hurried, panicky decision.

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