Windows XP End of Life – Our Recommendations

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At Computer Courage we’ve received a high volume of inquiries from customers about Windows XP and the “end of support” announcement from Microsoft. Read on to learn our summary of the situation and our recommendations for you.

What does “end of support” mean? Will my machine still run?

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Microsoft Windows is a very complex piece of software, rumored to have over 45 million lines of code within it. Like any large project, it is bound to contain mistakes, bugs, and security vulnerabilities. When users, hackers, security companies, or community members find these problems they usually tell Microsoft about it so that Microsoft can create and release a “patch” to fix the problem. These patches arrive, typically on Tuesdays, via Microsoft Windows Update and are automatically installed on most computers. These patches are the most important aspect of the “support” that Microsoft will be dropping on April 8th, 2014.

These patches are critical to the stability and security of Windows XP. Without patches, any newly discovered bugs or security vulnerabilities will not be patched by Microsoft. It’s entirely possible that hackers have been holding on to secretly discovered vulnerabilities in Windows XP waiting for end of support in order to spread viruses (rather than being good citizens and reporting the problems to Microsoft before End of Support). This means that after April 8th, 2014 we consider Windows XP to be an insecure and unstable operating system, and we do not recommend using it. Technically it will continue to run, but there will be no more patches (or antivirus updates) from Microsoft, rendering XP a very risky platform to run on.

I still have a Windows XP machine! What should I do?

Simply put, you need to get off of Windows XP. There are two possible paths: upgrade to a newer Windows (7 or 8) or replace the machine. We almost always recommend replacing a Windows XP machine rather than updating it.

Upgrading from XP to 7/8 is typically a bad investment. If your machine has Windows XP, the hardware is likely quite old. The replacement to XP, Windows Vista, was released in January of 2007, that’s 7 years ago! Vista was not popular, and many people (including our customers) still used XP during the Vista years, but Vista itself was replaced in 2009, that’s 4.5 years ago. That means any machine running Windows XP is very likely over 5 years old – too old to invest in.

Upgrading from XP to 7 or 8 is a costly process including hours of labor and a license, you’re looking typically at around $400 which is too much to invest in your old machine, which could fail at any time, is hard to replace components for, and runs slow. We believe there’s never been a better or more important time to upgrade to a new machine, and we’re here to help. If you’d like help selecting, setting up, and migrating data/programs to a new machine please contact us about our New PC Setup service.

If you have questions please feel free to leave them in the comments or contact us, thank you.

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