Well, my friends, now rather than later this has to be said. The End of Life (EOL) for Windows XP (all versions) is just around the corner on April 8, 2014.
First of all, what is End of Life? This is a term used when companies assert that a product is at the end of its useful life and will no longer be marketing it, selling it or offering any support on the product. This is exactly what Microsoft is doing with their most successful operating system to date, Windows XP. Whether we agree or not, its their decision.
So what does this exactly mean to you? What this means is that Microsoft will no longer making available any of the critical and security updates and patches that you may be used to seeing about every two to three days. These updates provide patches to the software when it becomes hacked and made vulnerable to malicious intent. This will no longer happen. Meanwhile, after the EOL happens, any vulnerability found will be exploited in high risk. That means that your computer, data, etc is open for anyone to attack, take over and confiscate.
Sounds gloomy, right? Well ten or fifteen years ago, I might have had a different aspect on this and thought it would pretty safe to continue using for a few years...just so you can get comfortable with spending money for an upgrade. However, to paraphrase a great author's work, that was then and this is now. With cyber crime at unimaginable rates, I just cannot imagine there being a good reason to hang onto it...as good as it is.
So my suggestion is that you start working your way to the next big thing. Now, many people who run out and buy from the shelf at a local retailer will definitely wind up with Windows 8. You do have a choice, you can get Windows 7 if you order from the manufacturer and tell them what you want. Microsoft has it out as orders that all retailers have to push Windows 8. Not everyone is falling for it; Windows 8 still has under a 4% market share...take that Microsoft. You could always opt for a Mac and why not; Mac have a near 0% reputation of coming under attack. However, for most people the cost in prohibitive.
We here at Delaware Valley Tech Rescue are getting many calls from clients who are switching over now before the deadline so we are doing a good number of setups and we want to make that you are thinking about this now rather than later to avoid the rush.
So like it or not, Windows XP closes the book on itself but keep in mind that there are choices. You just have to take a good look at all the prospects.