A lot can change in twelve years. For Microsoft Windows, twelve years is the span of time that saw the debut of five versions of its ubiquitous operating system—XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1. And yet, Windows XP tenaciously held on to its share of the market.
Windows XP was something a bit different than its predecessors—most notably Windows 95 and 98, which were themselves both different beasts from Windows 3.1. What made XP so popular? It was stable. It worked. It was around a long time, and people knew how to use it.
And many PC users have resisted changing from this trusted platform to one of Microsoft’s newer offerings. According to information published by NetMarketShare, approximately 27 percent of all Internet traffic is coming from XP-based machines. That’s the second-largest share. (Windows 7 has the largest, with just over 48 percent.)
But all good things must come to an end. And for Windows XP, that official end is April 8, 2014.
Why Did Windows XP Have to Go?
The answer comes directly from the Microsoft Windows website: “But now the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.”
So while XP is still popular, it’s also growing becoming obsolete. Proponents of the change argue that XP is simply not as secure as Windows 7 or 8 (or 8.1).
Whether you agree or not, the fact is that support for XP is nearly finished extinct. What does that mean for you?
What XP’s Exit Means for You
If you have an XP-based computer, don’t panic. There’s no need to fear that come April 9, it won’t turn on. This is not a Y2K-style catastrophe; it’s the planned end of an era. Your PC will still work. Here’s what the end of XP will mean for the average user:
• Microsoft will no longer offer technical support for the XP operating system, so you’re on your own for researching solutions to problems.
• There will be no more updates and or patches released for Windows XP. Over time, your computer will become increasingly more vulnerable to security breaches.
• No new downloads of Microsoft Security Essentials will be available, but anti-malware updates for existing installations of this program will still be provided. (Note: These are not the same as security patches for your PC.)
• Third-party programs may no longer support Windows XP. This is very much a vendor-by-vendor decision. Some, like the Google Chrome browser, will work until 2015 or so; others may have already discontinued XP support, or will in the near future.
• Some new peripherals—printers, scanners, Wi-Fi routers—may also eliminate drivers for Windows XP, severely reducing system compatibility and productivity.
So, what’s the final word? Yes, your computer will still work. And yes, you’ll have some time to shop around before you make the transition to another version of Windows—or another operating systems altogether. But don’t take too long. An unsupported, un-updated system is easy prey for viruses, spyware, and other security problems.
The bottom line: sooner or later, you’ll have to bid your old friend goodbye, and wave a fond farewell to one of Microsoft’s most successful products.
Not to fear; Techspert Services can help you determine the right replacement for XP. Just give us a call (904) 339–5054 or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can help find the best solution for you!