Windows XP support has ended. What does this mean for XP users?

Rest In Peace

We’ve all heard about the demise of Windows XP for a few years now, but in the past, each time the “end of Windows XP” announcement was made, you’d only have to wait a few days before Microsoft would revert their decision and decide to keep supporting it, with another supposed end date thrown in.

This time however, it feels different. This time, I believe they are going to follow through, unless they make an exception for the millions of ATM’s that still run Windows XP, having to put up with the irresponsibility and laziness, not to mention greed, of the banks that have sat on their backsides all this time, without choosing to change with the times. I am sure there are other reasons (or excuses banks will come up with) but reality is that banks (or their IT departments) are not stupid and they knew this day would come. I digress.

So, what does this mean for you dear end user, still running on Windows XP and has kept pressing on with the “Windows XP works for me” mentality, all these years?

Well, it means that it’s time you said goodbye to Windows XP. In fact, you should have moved away from Windows XP years ago.

Now, I understand that there is a cost involved in switching/upgrading Operating Systems, not just in terms of the license cost you have to fork out for the new OS (Windows 7 being the next ideal step for Windows XP users or Windows 8 for the really brave ones, Windows Vista if you’re a glutton for punishment) but also the potential costs of your applications/programs that need to be upgraded/updated, as well as the strong likelihood that your Windows XP hardware won’t run a newer OS very well, which means that you’ll need to purchase a new desktop/laptop. I feel your pain. Who wants to fork out hundreds of dollars to get on the latest and greatest, when the old stuff works for you and meets your needs, right?

I wish it was as simple as that.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that technology is constantly evolving at an incredible rate that it’s impossible for many of us to keep up with everything that’s happening. As innovations are made in hardware, software changes accordingly, to make use of the improved hardware, which makes sense. What this translates to is that old hardware will run the OS and applications that were designed at the time that hardware was the latest and greatest, but based on current standards, these would be deemed obsolete!

If you do decide to be defiant and continue using Windows XP, you not only have to contend with no support from Microsoft and the lack of support from software vendors for older versions of their software running on your Windows XP system, you must also consider the reality that you will be a much more interesting target for the bad guys. Why? Well, no support from Microsoft means that they will no longer be patching security holes on Windows XP. So tomorrow, if someone discovers a critical flaw in Windows XP that would allow an attacker to take control of your system or steal information from it, Microsoft isn’t obligated to do anything about it (they might, but they don’t have to). Of course, who can forget your garden variety malware/spyware, that is increasingly causing more havoc.

After tomorrow, know that you are putting yourself in a lot of danger if you continue to use your Windows XP system like nothing has changed, using it do your online shopping and banking and so on. And guess what? If your bank details or credit card information is stolen because your system is outdated, banks and credit card companies could very well turn their backs on you because you wilfully put yourself at risk by not upgrading your obsolete setup. While it’s true that major banks and online stores have minimum requirements for using their services, this is not true for everyone. Point is, you cannot expect others to protect you. You have to take ownership for what’s in your control.

What I have described above is nothing new. These dangers have existed for years, but Microsoft kept supporting the old dog that is Windows XP. However, the time has come to put it down for good.

If you are a Windows XP user and you are reading this post, I hope you understand the gravity of your situation and will do something about it immediately.

If your PC or laptop is only a few years old, it could very well run Windows 7 without any issues. Install and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to check if your system is capable of running Windows 7. If you get the all clear, grab yourself a copy and upgrade right away. Don’t forget to back up your data!

If you are still uncertain or are planning to drag your feet, do yourself and favour and make sure that bare minimum, you have taken care of the following:

  • Install Windows XP Service Pack 3 + all current updates.
  • Have up-to-date antivirus software running on your system. Don’t have any? Microsoft has you covered there as well with the free Security Essentials software.
  • While you are at it, grab a copy of Malwarebytes to keep malware/spyware at bay. The free version doesn’t do real-time scanning, but if you’re adventurous on the Internet, I’d advice you to run a weekly scan and perhaps, invest in the paid version (I don’t make any money by suggesting you pay for Malwarebytes).

If you are reading this post and running Windows XP for whatever reason and have questions, feel free to get in touch with me. I’ll do what I can to help.

Now, please join me and together, let’s bid Windows XP, adieu.

Thanks for reading.

Thank Sri :)Thank Sri 🙂

2 thoughts on “Windows XP support has ended. What does this mean for XP users?”

  1. Other things I’d also recommend if you want to keep using XP

    * Run as a Limited User. This will prevent many types of attacks from successfully occurring. It’s a pain to do, but without the ‘User Account Control’ technology found in Windows Vista and later, running as an Administrator in XP is just too dangerous.

    * Avoid web surfing on it. If you’re using XP for a specific task (especially if it is an offline task), you’re probably going to be ok for a while, but using an XP machine as a general web surfing machine is dangerous without patches.

    * If you have to use it for web surfing, avoid using Internet Explorer. Because Windows XP can’t upgrade past Internet Explorer 8, it’s recommended that you switch to other up to date browsers. If Windows XP could run Internet Explorer 10 or 11, this would be different (they’re pretty secure), but as it can’t, Firefox or Chrome are recommended. Plus, major websites are starting to dropping support for IE8 at the moment, so you’ll just have a better experience using alternatives.


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