Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Windows XP support ending

One year from today, Windows XP will be officially unsupported by Microsoft.

As noted on their life-cycle support page, there will be no more updates coming out of Redmond for the unbelievable success that is Windows XP. This operating system has been going since 2001, which makes it 12 years at time of writing. For software to last that long in the industry where things are changing every minute, and people have a hard time keeping up with the trends this is a huge deal, and massive success.

However, as mentioned, this success is coming to an end. Microsoft will be officially discontinuing the product. What does this mean for you?

  • Security vulnerabilities. If hackers find an exploit in Windows XP that is currently unpatched, they might choose to wait till after the product is discontinued before attempting their attacks on a system, or systems. This is a very real threat, that could cause loss of data, identity theft, etc. Having an up-to-date system is very important to receive regular updates on these vulnerabilities, and ensure your computer is patched and updated.
  • Hardware support. With new hardware coming out and the discontinuation of XP, getting digitally signed drivers for your hardware will become a very difficult task. You may not get the best performance out of your hardware, or worse, it might not even work, as there may not be a driver for it available.
  • Software support. Newer programs such as Microsoft Office, Internet browsers, etc may stop receiving support for XP, and as such, you'd experience a slower performance, web-pages may not display properly, or not at all, and some programs may cease to operate altogether.
So, with the above in mind, you'll probably need to get a new system. Unless your computer is as old as XP is, there is a good chance that it will work fine with some of the newer versions of Windows that are available.

Purchasing a copy of Windows 7 is impossible through Microsoft I've been informed both by trying myself online on the Microsoft store, and on the phone, but it is available if you go to computer shops and retailers that may still have copies left available for sale.

If you missed out on the Windows 8 upgrade offer from Microsoft when Windows 8 was first announced for $39, Windows 8 is available for sale on the Microsoft Store for AU $149.99, which will get you the Windows 8 operating system. However, some places are selling copies of Windows 8 for $59 on the store shelves, I have seen it available at JB-HiFi (if you live in Australia). Even if you don't need it now, you should probably get it before stocks run out at that price, and you'll have to pay nearly 3 times that later.

Alternatively, if you have XP on an old machine, and you don't think it will last more than a year, you may be better off just holding out, and buying a new computer next year which will come with Windows pre-loaded on it.

Any questions? Fire away in the comments section below!

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