Armageddon coming to a Windows XP machine near you!

Armageddon coming to a Windows XP machine near you!

On the 8th April this year Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP (and Office 2003) – that is, if you read the popular press and believe everything that the “guy down the pub that knows computers” says then your whole computing world will end. Famine will sweep across your hard drive, a plague of locusts may well emerge from your CD ROM drive and every single hacker in the whole world will go to town on your bank account details. Or will they?

The fact is that there are plenty of people out there who will encourage you to upgrade your computer just because of this event – and there’s nothing strictly wrong with that. Windows XP is an old operating system, many of its built in components (Internet Explorer 8, Outlook Express) are old, tired looking and don’t support many of the modern functionality available in more up to date computers. What I take issue with are the people that encourage you to replace the computer that you are perfectly happy with just solely because of this reason alone – the fact is that if you don’t upgrade or replace your trusty XP laptop or PC on the 8th April, then nothing bad will happen. What will happen is that it will get further and further out of date, each month you use it after this date, you will not receive the usual security updates from Microsoft. What this means is that any vulnerabilities that are in the operating system will not be fixed and can be utilised by viruses and hackers to compromise your computer.
Sounds scary doesn’t it? – but the fact is that Windows XP is still used by between a quarter and a third of all of the world’s computers and many people using Windows XP at the moment have out of date software, have out of date browsers or simply don’t use many of the Microsoft products on their computer like Internet Explorer. For example if you use Google Chrome as your web browser – that is being supported by Google until April 2015 – Firefox have no plans even to stop support for its browser. Your antivirus program (if you’re smart) isn’t a Microsoft product, it’s probably AVG if you listen to me or Avast – neither of these products are going “end of life”.

So what am I trying to say? I guess my point is, yes it’s time to take stock and think about whether your old creaking computer should finally be replaced, and if you decide that you want to replace it then take your time, choose wisely and plan for a shiny new box that will see you through the next few years – give me a call if you want some free advice on what to buy. If you are quite happy with your Windows XP computer then stick with it, but be aware of the risks. Make sure that you are using a good web browser that is up to date and make sure that you have a good up to date antivirus program installed and working.

If you decide that you want to continue using Windows XP until you find a good replacement then please continue to use good common sense, turn your computer off when you’re not using it, and ensure that it’s backed up regularly and that you check the backups are working. Don’t click on everything that your friends email to you and stick to websites that you know and trust. Ensure that you install any software that your bank suggests you should and keep that up to date.

When you decide to upgrade to something newer, then do think about whether you want to move to Windows 7 or 8, you might find the following article useful to read when making this decision…

…it will give you some ideas of what to look for.

If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate contact us.