Why You Should No Longer Be Using Windows XP

Even though Windows XP was released way back in 2001, it’s still a pretty great operating system. It’s stable, has a Start button and gets the job done. That’s why there are literally hundreds of millions of computers that still have it installed. It’s so popular, in fact, that it’s the second most installed operating system in the world, only a little bit behind Windows 7.

Unfortunately, this isn’t really a good thing. The reason being Microsoft. Up till now, Microsoft has been extending the deadline for when it would drop support for Windows XP, but now it seems they are really going to kill it off. On April 8th, 2014, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP completely. This is big news because it means in about 4 months, there will be millions of computers that are going to be vulnerable to hackers.

os market shareSource: The Next Web

End of support means Microsoft will no longer provide any technical assistance to businesses or consumers for Windows XP troubleshooting. In addition and more importantly, Microsoft will no longer provide any security patches or updates for the operating system. On top of that, you won’t even be able to download Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows XP, the free antivirus software, after this date.

This is really bad news for anyone who has Windows XP installed after this date because there are literally hundreds of security vulnerabilities detected in Windows XP every year and once support ends, all of those security holes will be exploited by hackers and there literally won’t be anything to stop them.

Several Microsoft executives have also stated openly that businesses and users who do not update the operating system or buy a new PC will be open to many new attacks. One possible solution if you still have to use XP for whatever reason is to disconnect the computer from the Internet. Obviously, the PC can still be infected over the LAN network, but you’ll have a better chance than if it’s connected directly to the Internet.

For any business that needs support for Windows XP past the April 2014 deadline, another option is to install Windows Server 2003. Windows Server 2003 uses the same kernel as Windows XP and therefore can run all the same apps without any compatibility issues. Support for Windows Server 2003 does not end until July 15th 2015, so you can get an extra year to upgrade your apps to a newer operating system.

windows server 2003

As for consumers, according to Microsoft’s official statement, they would love for you to upgrade to Windows 8.1.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help

The other reason to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8 is so that you can use the latest software and devices with your computer. XP is so old that a lot of new software simply will not run on it. In addition, some newer devices and gadgets may not be recognized by the system properly.

Upgrading an old PC to Windows 8 is actually not a bad idea. I wrote a post a while back on revitalizing an old PC by installing Windows 8 on it. The system requirements are pretty low, meaning you can install it on some fairly old hardware. Of course, you’ll have to buy Windows 8 Upgrade, which currently costs around $119, but that might be a better option than buying a new computer altogether.

windows 81

If you do install Windows 8 and you get any kind of error about the CPU not being compatible, check out the link. I’ve personally installed Windows 8.1 on a couple of old desktops at home and they work great for browsing, email, watching videos, reading news, etc. With Windows 8.1, you also kind of get the Start button back, so if you have been holding back because of the lack of a Start button, it’s not that bad anymore in 8.1.

Whatever you end up doing, if you don’t upgrade a Windows XP computer, make sure you don’t have any important data on it because everything will be at risk. However, if it’s connected to your local network, a hacker could still take control of the XP machine and then wreak havoc on other computers on the network, so really the best thing is to get rid of Windows XP altogether. If you can’t, tell us why in the comments!

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Comments [14]

  1. Sood says:

    I upgraded to Windows 7 two years back but I still appreciate the copying speed of Windows XP.

  2. John Shelton says:

    Why I should be, and am, still using Windows XP. I have a windows XP installation that is about 6 or 7 years old and is still performing as well as the day it was installed. My windows 7 installations have crashed and had to be reinstalled 3 or 4 times each one since original installation. I read about the gloom and doom when Windows 2000 lost “support”. The only thing I have observed with my Windows 2000 installation (which I am continuing to use) is that I no longer get the fail-to-start or other errors connected with improperly researched updates. In other words, My Windows 2000 installations work better and more reliably without Microsoft’s interference. I look forward to the same improvement in XP with Microsoft’s exit. Yes, part of my Windows 7 problems have been invasions by hackers which never happened with XP or 2000. Now, tell me about why I should abandon Windows XP. Windows 7 is the OS I should abandon, not XP! I have never and will never adopt any version of Windows 8. One OS simply cannot be optomized for everything from a cell phone to a corporate desktop computer and Windows 8 proves this contention.

  3. Nonsense says:

    This is pure Microsoft fueled FUD. Windows XP itself is not an internet facing entity.

    If you turn off your non-essential network services (ie: sharing) live behind a NAT router and use a modern browser you will be just as fine as you have been for a long time. There are additional steps you can take if you’re paranoid too, like run and anti-virus, etc. Check out any common article about how to properly secure Windows XP and do those things.

    This is a shameful article. Don’t believe this nonsense. Still using Windows 2000 here and loving it’s simplicity. Not infected for 10 years now. I don’t even use an anti-virus. Anti-virus FUD is another story again.

  4. John Shelton says:

    Do you forbid any replys that disagree with your opinions? I made a statement and provided documentation for having my opinion and you refuse to publish my reply. I have a hard time placing any confidence in the opinions of anyone that refuses to honor the opposing opinions.

  5. @John, I have no problem with disagreeing opinions! It just takes me some time to approve comments on the site.

    I definitely can see why you and some other users would like to stick with Windows XP over Windows 7 and Windows 8 for various reasons, however this article is geared towards what the majority of people should do.

    I have a feeling you and @Nonsense are fairly smart people who browse the web carefully and know a little bit about computers, etc. However, I don’t want my mother or my dad to be running Windows XP after support is gone because they have no clue what they are doing and using Windows XP will just make it 10 times easier for a hacker to take advantage of them.

    So if you know how to use XP and you’re happy with it and you can protect yourself, then by all means use it away. But the majority of folks don’t know how to do that and they should not be using Windows XP.

    It’s like someone who knows about cars and drives around a 40 year old classic because they love the engine, how it drives, etc. But that is not the case for 99% of the people because they don’t know anything about cars and how to take care. Does that make sense?

  6. Luis Alicea says:

    I used W95 and 98. When I get XP, I worked with it for 8 years. When people ask me about OS, my answer is “XP is the best, if I could use it now, I will continue with it”.

    Two things I dislike from the newer versions. First: When Vista arrived to market was when the 2007 economic crisis and Bill Gates lost around $30B of his wealth, so he needed to recover it, and a problem of OS-monopoly around the globe. Second, if you try to install old software from XP to later versions of Windows, it will not let you to do that. Sometimes I asked to myself: “Why only two years passed between Vista and W7?”

    Each version between XP and 7 (Inclusive) is a “remasked” or “refried” edition. With only a makeup and few new functions makes a new version. Just peanuts.

    I have used Windows 8 on friends’ computers. It’s a disaster! I have tried to set it up to open the conventional desktop and doesn’t work. While I’m at desktop, just a small mouse gesture and return it to the W8 screen, which I HATE MOST! Til’ now, I have not found a way to always open desktop on startup.

    I have a policy regarding OS: If you buy a PC with a specific OS, don’t upgrade it. If my PC came with XP, it will “die” with XP. I have never upgrade the OS (don’t forget the problems when people switch from DOS to 95 and 95 to 98), because I think this is a scam in favor of Bill Gates. He’s among the three billionaires. I am at the bottom of the barrel and I can’t support his wealth as he wishes.

    And the other problem they’ve created: I can’t use other software I have, because were not configured for every Win version. The only program I have installed on XP, Vista, 7 and 8 is OpenOffice (regardless the version)and for free.

  7. Adam says:

    Windows XP was such a fantastic OS in it’s day but there’s really no reason (for the most part) not to upgrade to Windows 7 or even 8.1 depending on which side of the fence you sit when it comes to Windows 8!

    Visa was one to avoid for most when it was first released making it understandable to want to wait for a while, but with 7 and the arguably better 8.1 out at a low price, there really is no reason not to update in my opinion.

    Thanks for the article :)

  8. Warren Turner says:

    I have a couple of computers whose motherboards will not run anything higher than WinXP (I have a few OPERATING antique computers!). An example is my PR440FX dual Pentium Pro upgrade project. – Before I get the obligatory “You can buy a new one cheaper” please note that I can also buy a new car cheaper than my ’47 Ford Convertible.
    My PPro has support for both Floppy drives, which I use to archive my many Floppy disks.
    For 90% of my day-to-day use, win2k, winxp, and win7 all perform perform about the same, the main difference being the hardware, not the operating system. Word processing is limited by my typing speed, surfing is limited by my ISP, and so forth.
    My wife’s win 8 touchscreen does very little more(once I got it is running right) with the exception of games. My win 7 desktop with SSD boot drive is similar since I do not play games on any of them.
    It would make no sense to even attempt an across the board upgrade, (even where possible) from winXP. or in one case a Dual Boot NT4/2000 laptop.

  9. James says:

    XP virtually? Might there even be other options? I’m not totally convinced yet that MS won’t grudgingly extend deadlines based purely on the massive numbers these percentages represent. Recently, I heard that these estimates might mean as many as 500,000,000 PCs with XP. That’s half a billion! Even if you feel that that’s just their tough luck, there’s still going to be a lot of angry feedback and really, does Microsoft need that while they’re dodging the arrows over Windows 8′s (generally) poor acceptance? At this point, those XP users are still Microsoft customers.

  10. Amanda says:

    If someone must use WinXP, that’s fine, but there’s something else I would add to the list of reasons to upgrade: if you use Internet Explorer, WinXP cannot handle versions beyond version 8.

    Currently, Internet Explorer is on version 11. What this means is that you miss out on security and speed upgrades that are integrated into the newer versions of the program. Further, Internet Explorer has historically been slow to comply with current web standards. This means for you, the user, that you miss out on features and enhancements (such as websites that load faster and work better) because IE 8 doesn’t support them, and this leads to a sub-par experience.

    However, if you wish to hold on to WinXP, but would like to update your Internet experience, you can give Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox a try. They are similar programs to Internet Explorer. The latest versions of these browsers will work on WinXP, and they offer speed, security and features superior to those of Internet Explorer 8.

  11. Cornell says:

    Do you really think those still using XP will listen? Those who would listen have already switched to either 7 or 8.

  12. Sheryl says:

    LINUX FOR LIFE

  13. Wolf says:

    In all the comments above I did not see anyone say anything (i might have missed it) about the people that can not afford a new operating system, much less a new computer. My wife and I do without every month. We can not afford to WASTE our income on unnecessary expenses like this even if we could,(and we can not). I am sure there are many,many others out there that is in the same boat as I am. If I every have trouble with my XP and need a new os. THEN THANKS TO BILL GATES, LINUX WILL HAVE A NEW CUSTOMER.

    Wolf

  14. James says:

    @wolf: plenty of options open to you, wolf. I still don’t believe MS will cease support at midnight of the 7th of April. Use the time to look into other options to continue to use XP. You can virtualize XP in VirtualBox and save snapshots. Dual-boot XP with a Linux distro for safe internet use. And as far as becoming a Linux “customer”? No need: it’s free for the downloading and the ever-increasing number of user-friendly versions aimed at ex-XP users are popular. Browsing the net in Linux Firefox is indistinguishable from XP. As are many other “Windows” apps. And the Linux learning curve continues to shrink. Many have never looked back after the switch. And, at the end of the day, most your XP apps will continue to function on XP just as they are. (photo and music editors,for instance)

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