Computer Support: Do I Have to Give Up Windows XP?  

tumblr_n3q57iGFLP1qg53kdo2_500In April, Microsoft ended security support for the aging Windows XP operating system. Are you one of the many people who, two months later, are still running an XP machine?  With no given security updates, upgrades, or patches, your computer is even more at risk for viruses, hackers, and program holes or bugs. Keep reading for more information, and then consider switching to a more modern operating system.

What Happened?

First introduced in 2001, the XP operating system enjoyed widespread popularity and continued to sell even after newer systems such as Windows Vista and Windows 7 were released. The reliable XP became the go-to operating system for millions of people. Numerous small and large businesses still rely on the software, as well as countless banks and most ATMs.

Interestingly enough, the country of China is so invested in the XP system that the government has, as of this May, banned Windows 8 from administrative computers in the hopes of avoiding a similar security situation in the future. Keep in mind, however, that XP is over 12 years old and that Microsoft has offered several updated operating systems in that time. Change was inevitable, and Microsoft is doing its best to encourage everyone to upgrade.

Can I Get Around It?

“Just say no” to security hacks. Some users recently reported a way to get around the system by tricking Microsoft into thinking an XP computer is actually the Windows Embedded Industry program, for which it still offers security updates. However, this is not a foolproof method due to compatibility issues. Additionally, Microsoft may put a stop to the practice at any time.

Microsoft does have a plan for government and military organizations not ready to switch, offering a paid service to keep their XP computers updated. This is unfortunatelynot an option for civilians, but dedicated users can dream.

What Should I Know About Upgrading?

If you are considering a new computer, have fun exploring! Satisfied PC and Microsoft users do have a couple of choices in terms of available operating system upgrades.While Windows 7 will seem more comfortable and familiar, Windows 8.1 has redeemed itself and may be the best option.

If you would rather keep your current computer, you can check the compatibility using guidelines on Microsoft’s website. You will also find a downloadable Upgrade Assistant to help you make the switch. Before downloading a new operating system, however, take the time to back up your hard drive and make any necessary computer repairs or updates.

Windows 8.1 and Office 365 are quite different from XP so it may take some time to become acclimated to the numerous navigation and productivity updates. Thankfully, there are many added features to help make the upgrade worthwhile, including touchscreen capabilities and a smoother running overall. In addition, Microsoft recognizes how beloved the XP operating system was and so has taken steps, such as adding a start button, to help make the Windows 8 redesign more comfortable.

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