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Microsoft Officially Stops Supporting Windows XP

04/15/14

It's official. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft stopped supporting its Windows XP operating system after 12 years. This means that the nearly 30% of PCs still running XP will become increasingly more vulnerable without security updates and technical maintenance. For those of you who still have not migrated to a newer operating system: the longer you wait, the more security holes XP will accumulate and the more susceptible your hard drive will be to an attack from viruses and malicious software.

What Should I Do?

Upgrade as soon as possible. Now is the time to switch over to Windows 8.1 so that you can protect your hard drive and your computer from being targeted by all sorts of harmful attackers. Migrating will not only result in dramatically enhanced regular security updates from Microsoft for its new system, but you will also benefit from the new OS as a whole since it is, afterall, pretty much brand new. Although you may feel comfortable with XP, chances are sooner or later the costs will outweigh the benefits. Learning the new system now is a small price to pay in order to protect yourself from future security disaster.

What Will Happen if I Don't Migrate?

As mentioned above, your computer will be extremely vulnerable to viruses, harmful spyware, and other malicious software that can steal and damage your data. This is because you will no longer receive regular security updates to patch flaws in the system. Microsoft has also stated that most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on existing and new hardware.

If you choose not to upgrade your operating system, PC World has outlined a few things you can do to try and keep your PC as safe as possible. However, the best protection for your computer is to migrate to Windows 8.1 or another modern system.

For more on Microsoft's discontinued support of Windows XP, please visit their support site. This page includes a more detailed explanation of risks and how to migrate off of XP.