That means that unless you are a major government, no further security updates or patches will be available for the operating system. That's a lot of computers — and users. So what can those users do now? We've created a checklist: Download the latest security updates. This is the last update Microsoft will issue.
Some major governments including U. So download that final update. Microsoft Security Essentials is free, but other security options are available — including suites from Kaspersky and others. One note: An out-of-date security app is basically like not having any security at all. Your web browser is often the place where most users wind up getting infected with a virus or malware.
If you're still using XP, you're probably using IE 8 — which is more than two versions old. Instead, move to Firefox or Google Chrome. Mozilla and Google have committed to supporting XP for at least another year. You have a laptop or desktop from before and XP is what works. Change is hard, and upgrading costs money.
You have a very specific application that only works with XP, such as Microsoft Money. I cannot stress this enough. It's not just that the operating system is old and that there are security issues.
It's not just that Microsoft has released three successors to XP. It's not just that new machines are more powerful, have better battery life or power efficiency, and are less expensive than ever before. It's that Windows XP is not safe to use. Because XP is so old — and popular — its flaws are better known than most operating systems. Hackers have targeted Windows XP with aplomb for years — and that was while Microsoft was providing security patch support. Without that support, users are vulnerable.
So regardless of the reasons you're still using XP, start preparing to move to a new operating system right now. Choose a new operating system Image: Vernon Chan If your existing computer can support Windows 8. Microsoft has a bunch of Windows 8. Yes, Windows 8. The good news is that the new Windows 8. Assuming you're not using a tablet, it includes the ability to basically turn off Windows 8's tile-based "Metro" interface entirely and stick with the traditional desktop you're familiar with.
You may be able to find an older machine that comes with Windows 7. Unless you can get a great price from an authorized source, we'd caution against doing this. It's time to bite the bullet and move on. And if you want to avoid Windows altogether, you can do that, too. Since Windows XP hit the market, it's become easier to use an operating system other than Windows, even for "real" work. Although buying a Mac is more expensive, plenty of users prefer the experience, and the software available for Apple machines is easily on par with what you can get for Windows.
She'e never been happier. But a Mac isn't your only other option. Linux is far from perfect, but it has become much more usable in the last few years. Thanks to Ubuntu and distributions such as Linux Mint , using Linux no longer has to be scary. There's even a version of Linux that looks just like Windows XP. The best part about Linux? It's free and it runs on machines both old and new.
Even if your current laptop isn't powerful enough to run Windows 8. If you want a good place to look at getting started with Linux, check out the Ubuntu Manual Project. Most users spend most of their time in a web browser. If that's the case, you might want to look at a Chromebook , which is inexpensive and offers a good experience for the web-centric user. Another option might be to get an iPad or Android tablet and a Bluetooth keyboard. A Toshiba Chromebook. Mashable, Christina Ascani Back up and migrate your data Moving away from Windows XP, especially if you've had a machine for a long time, can be hard.
Fortunately, a number of services make it easier. If you're going to migrate to another Windows machine, Microsoft has teamed up with Laplink to allow users to easily migrate their data. The PCmover Express app is free and will move over personal files, user profiles and settings to a Windows 7 or later machine. PCmover Express will not move over applications — so make sure you have copies of your installation disks and serial numbers for anything you use day-to-day.
Transfer and back up your Windows XP files. If you're interested in moving to OS X, Apple makes it easy. You can either bring your existing computer into the Genius Bar when you buy your Mac at an Apple Store and get help migrating data over that way, or you can use the Windows Migration Assistant Apple provides to move Windows data to OS X. Again, the Migration Assistant won't bring over apps — but it will bring over email, contacts, calendar files, bookmarks, system settings, photos, and music and video files.
Use a virtual machine Windows XP running in a virtual machine. If you absolutely must stick with Windows XP — maybe there is an app that won't run under Windows 8. Think of a virtual machine as a computer that exists within a computer. It means you can run an entire instance of Windows XP on top of another operating system. The benefit here is that nothing in the virtual machine can contaminate other apps or files on the main system.
That means you can upgrade to a new OS and still have a virtual copy of your Windows XP machine around for times you need to access Microsoft Money files. Change is hard, but necessary I know that for some users, moving away from Windows XP is a chore. I can understand the resentment over moving away from something that still seems to work. It's a testament to the success of XP and the failure of its successor, Windows Vista that the OS has lasted this long.
But change is necessary. Maybe someday computers will be like that, but today, they require updates — especially if you want to keep the information stored on them and transmitted between them secure.
It does get easier. No matter what route you go, moving to a new OS gets easier to more time you spend with it.
That means that unless you are a major government, no further security updates or patches will be available for the operating system. That's a lot of computers — and users. So what can those users do now? We've created a checklist: Download the latest security updates. This is the last update Microsoft will issue. Some major governments including U.