We can never pick our own mortality. In the software industry the end of life date is picked as soon as the package is released. Many small businesses, large businesses and home users have a date circled on there calendar. This is April 8th 2014. This is the date that Windows XP will be no longer supported.

I have in many circles been accused of fear mongering in many circles. Many people feel that because XP will no longer be supported, they will not be at risk. Well today’s world is a different kind of digital worl. One where most of us are connected to the Internet 24 by 7. One where viruses and malware are designed to steal our personal data and identity instead of just formatting our hard drive. The digital world has long changed.

If you are running Windows XP you have options. The key is to make the right decision for you.

Risks If You Do Not Upgrade

After April 8th there will be no more security fixes for Windows XP. The product will have hit it’s end of life. This means there will be no more security fixes to patch potential security holes. This means your machine will be vulnerable to attacks from the outside world.

When Windows 2000 went end of life, hackers had attacks all lined up and ready to go rhe day after.

With computers being open to attacks this means personal information and financial information could be stolen from them. This happens more then people think. Security fixes are needed to shut these kinds of attacks down.

Ransomware will potentially start to run wild. Remember virus checkers are only part of the solution to secure your pc. Security fixes, behavior modification and backups are all essential parts of it as well.

What Should I Upgrade To

If you have an older computer that is 10 years old, it is time to get a new machine. Here you have a couple of options. You can call order direct from Dell, HP and Lenovo and ask which models have Windows 7 on them. Manufacturers are allowed to sell Windows 7 on new machines until the fall of 2014.

If you have a newer computer, then you could upgrade to Windows 7 by purchasing a OEM copy of Windows 7. Tiger Direct carries it in both Canada and the the US.

The last alternative is if you want to stay with Windows,you can buy a computer or laptop with Windows 8.1 on it. If I was getting a machine with Windows 8.1, I would also purchase Start 8 from Stardock. It puts the Start Menu back in to Windows 8. The cost of Start 8 is only $5.00 USD.

Conclusion

Microsoft has published end of life dates for all it’s operating systems. They key is to make sure you upgrade before the end of the cycle in order to protect yourself in today’s digital world.