Anyone who has used a computer in the last decade is more than likely to be familiar with Windows XP. It has been the most popular operating system (OS) for just shy of 13 years, and for good reason. It was quickly adopted because of its user friendly interface and reliability, and has a very loyal following. Unfortunately for those still keen on keeping XP, this Spring will be the end of Microsoft support for the aging OS.
What does this mean for companies and home users that don’t want to shell out a couple hundred bucks for a new OS? It means that XP will still boot up and be able to be used, but you will be at the mercy of every hacker connected to the web. It also means that any custom software you have will have to be modified or even re-written in order to be compatible with a newer OS. Important security updates will no longer be issued, so your version of XP will slowly become more and more vulnerable to malicious threats.
You do however have some options when it comes to how to deal with this before the spring deadline. You can contact the maker of your software(s) and have them rewrite the entire application. You can also trick some programs into thinking it is running in an XP environment, although this can be unstable and unreliable. You can even take that XP machine offline and lock down the Administrator rights and not allow any new software to be installed.
Sometimes it’s hard to let go of something we have used and are familiar with, yet it has seen its day and it’s time to move on. As much as XP empowered the end user and made computing efficient and fast, Windows 7 and beyond will continue to set the new standard for operating systems.