Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP and Office 2003 on the 8th April 2014. This means that there will be no more updates and any security holes found after this date will go unpatched and unprotected (though Microsoft’s Security Essentials will continue to receive updates until April 2015).
…if Microsoft’s estimate of 1.5 billion active Windows users is correct, there are over 510 million PCs still running Windows XP on this planet. 510 million.
In all likelihood, the bad guys have been stockpiling security flaws for XP in the hope that what isn’t found by April won’t get fixed. This potential flood of exploits has become known, charmingly enough, as the XPocalypse.
If you are one of the 30%, there are a number of possible solutions to this problem.
1. Treat your current machine to an Operating System upgrade.
If your machine supports it, ebuyer.com (and others) has stock of Windows 7 install discs and licenses from ~£70. The ever evolving Linux Mint is, of course, a free Operating System which supports a wide range of hardware. If you’re going to learn a new operating system, Linux could be the perfect choice for extending the life of older systems.
2. Replace your XP machine with something running a more current operating system.
eBay has a wide range of used machines running Windows 7 or take a trip to your favourite online retailer and buy something shiny. I would suggest those coming from XP try to get a Windows 7 machine. Windows 8.1 may still yet be a step too far for many.
3. If neither of these appeal, you should, at the very least, ditch Internet Explorer. Both Firefox (my personal preference) and Chrome will continue to provide updates for their browsers on XP.
For those with Office 2003, take a look at Open Office and Libre Office, free office suites with all the functionality you would expect.
If you have an XP machine and would like some help, get in touch