If you’ve received notice from Microsoft that your Windows XP operating system is “expiring” on April 8th, you may be wondering what to do. Should you upgrade? And what are the risks of continuing to use your computer the way it is?
Microsoft has been warning for the last year that they will be ending support for Windows XP. The operating system is quite old by now, and it seems reasonable that Microsoft would not want to continue to expend resources patching and updating such an old platform when there are modern, safer alternatives available such as Windows 7 and 8.
Since Microsoft will no longer be providing security patches and updates for XP, it will become less and less safe to use XP as time goes on. In my opinion, while there is no reason to immediately cease using your XP computer today, it is best not to use it for much longer, particular if you perform sensitive activities on that computer such as online shopping or banking.
For business customers, particularly those who must meet compliance guidelines such as HIPAA (for the medical industry) or SOX (for the financial sector), or who use their computer system to accept credit card payments, I advise you to stop using XP as soon as possible. The lack of security updates for XP means that you could be liable should a security breach occur that is related to your system.
I don’t recommend upgrading the operating system on your XP computer. Your XP computer is by now pretty old, with outdated hardware that was not designed to run newer operating systems.
Another consideration is that when you buy a retail copy of an operating system, you always pay more for that operating system than you would if you purchased a new computer with the operating system included. This is because large computer manufacturers such as Dell or Sony license the OS from Microsoft in bulk for a very low fee.
You would be better served by putting the money for that OS upgrade towards a new, faster computer.