Microsoft is today reminding everyone that Windows XP only has one year left before it no longer offers ANY support for the aging operating system. (In fact Microsoft stopped offering mainstream support for Windows XP in 2009 and now only offers security hot fixes to users of Windows XP.)

Windows XP came out in 2001 and remains the second most popular operating system for PCs.

Microsoft has traditionally offered 10 years support for its operating systems, which typically means that Microsoft will be supporting 3 desktop based operating systems at any given time. (NOT something that Apple have ever provided its end users.)

The last time you could walk into a store and purchase a PC/laptop with Windows XP installed as the operating system was 2010 (see chart below).

end of windows os life

Microsoft offers its customers TWO types of support:

– Mainstream

Mainstream support delivers free fixes for security patches and other bug fixes to everyone.

– Extended

Extended support delivers free security updates to all users, however NON-security hot fixes are only provided to companies that have signed support contracts with Microsoft.

Now that Windows 8 is available, along with Windows 7, the very popular Windows XP operating system will be reaching “end of life” status from Microsoft in 2014.

Important Dates:

On April 14, 2009. The following Windows XP editions came out of Mainstream Support and entered Extended Support:

– Windows XP Home
– Windows XP Pro 32-bit and 64-bit
– Windows XP Media Center Edition
– Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

On April 08, 2014. These Windows XP editions will come out of Extended Support and so reach their “end of life” with no further support from Microsoft! That means any future security exploits will no longer be patched, leaving the operating system open to all kind of email and web based security attacks.

So if you are a Windows XP user, now is a good time to start planning a move to either Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Moving On:

When purchasing a new laptop/PC you will have to create an action plan of how to:

– Copy and move the The contents of your My Documents folder (documents, images, video etc.)
– Copy and move the contents of any music software such as iTunes
– Copy and move any browser bookmarks
– Copy and move email databases and login details

…in addition you will also need to think about any hardware that you currently use such as printers, scanners and webcams etc.

Does the vendor provide updated Windows drivers for each product?

Moving to a new operating system is never easy as it does take some planning, but with Windows XP end of life coming in 2014 it is not something you are going to be able to avoid. Unless of course you want to keep on using a PC/laptop with no further security updates from Microsoft – NOT something I would recommend!

I’ll end this article with an up to date chart showing the usage of operating systems since 2008 to date.

windows xp usage


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