Windows XP – down but not dead

Officially Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows XP since the 8th of April 2014. What does this mean to you?

WindowsXPEssentially since the 8th of April, any computer that is currently running Windows XP will continue to work. However it will display messages advising “Windows XP end of support is on April 8th, 2014”. This means there will no longer be any updates or patches for any bugs or vulnerabilities that may be found. Antiviruses, such as Microsoft Security Essentials, will continue to support existing Windows XP users for a limited time, the same goes for other programs, but no updates will be issued.

 So what could happen?

Without critical Windows XP security updates your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, which can steal or damage your personal or business data and information. Antivirus software may also not be able to fully protect you since Windows XP itself is unsupported.

Many software and hardware vendors will no longer back their products that are running on Windows XP as they are unable to get the Windows XP updates. For example, the new Office does not run on Windows XP.

Can I still use Windows XP? What are my options?

In short, one could continue to use Windows XP but you may hit significant compatibility issues, so we wouldn’t recommend it.

To avoid these issues, you’re left with 2 options; either update or upgrade.

Updating involves backing up all the data, and then installing a newer operating system such as Windows 7 or Windows 8. Something to remember when updating is newer operating systems are designed to run with newer hardware. Although theoretically they can work with 2GB of memory (RAM), we wouldn’t recommend anything less than 4GB. The other thing to look at is the processor. For things to run smoothly, a processor from the “Core i” series (i3, i5 or i7) is strongly recommended. You also need to get a license for your new Windows. Installing Windows and getting your data on and off your computer can be very time consuming and finicky, and should only be attempted by somebody who has prior experience in installing operating systems.

Upgrading is a more straight forward exercise, as new computers will come with a newer versions of Windows preinstalled, so generally all that is required is to plug it in and copy your data across.

If you need any assistance in upgrading to a new computer, data transfer or updating Windows, please call us at Restart.

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