Written by Matthew Dudek
Windows XP (and Server 2003) end-of-life is April 8th this year, 2014. You’ve probably heard that somewhere in the background noise of life, or you may have even heard it loud and crystal clear. Whatever the case, it is true, and it can’t be ignored any longer. The best advice I can give is that you not run a Windows XP computer beyond that date no matter what- the risks are too great. “But everything is working, and will continue to work- I don’t see a need to spend money replacing completely functional equipment for no apparent reason…” Yes, I’ve heard that line several times, but like Homeowners, Car or Life Insurance, right now at this moment of happy living is not going show you the need for such protection. Likewise, Windows XP will hurt you in an unexpected way at an unexpected time. It’s not a matter of if, but when.
I found a very good treatise on the subject Here from an experienced Microsoft executive, and even though there may be some salesmanship in the article, he speaks in truth and validity. The main concern that jumps out in my mind is that XP will be completely unprotected from an increasing number of exploits to already-existing yet unknown vulnerabilities. (If Microsoft knew all the vulnerabilities, they would roll out a massive patch that would fix everything, and move on to engineer next greatest OS in history, but we know that’s not the case.) The truth is, as Microsoft fixes the current operating systems with security patches and updates, the same issues that are being fixed in Windows 7 and 8 may also exist in Windows XP (since Microsoft uses much of the same programming code in all the OS’s), and the hackers will reverse-engineer the patches to find out the exact vulnerability addressed in each patch and attack XP with the newly acquired information. (As the article states, of the 45 security concerns in 2012-2013 for Windows XP, 30 of them also affected Windows 7 and Windows 8.)
Another reason to move to a more current operating system is that products that run on and with Windows XP are disappearing, along with support for such products. Also, even if you do have working software on the XP machine, software companies are constantly upgrading their products to add features, fix errors, and patch vulnerabilities, and these upgrades are based on the current platforms, so at any time unknown to you, a program will just break or become too cumbersome for your old computer to run properly anymore. Either way, your level of productivity and security will diminish to the point that the cost of lost profits will be comparable to the expense of upgrading to new state-of-the-art systems, which, by the way, will surprise you with an amazing increase in performance for a lower price than what you originally paid for your current equipment!