By Steve Battiato
On 25 August 2001, Microsoft released Windows (XP). In the world of computers, 12 years is a long time. The merging of the Windows NT/2000 and Windows 95/98/Me created a fast, stable Windows based operating system. Millions of XP licenses were sold for a variety of devices, not just desktop and laptop computers, but manufacturing control systems, television set top boxes and even ATM’s. It is estimated that 500 million devices are still running XP. On April 8 Microsoft will no longer support XP. XP’s popularity was further enhanced when the next major release from Microsoft was Windows Vista. Vista was disappointing to many users.
Consumers and businesses may continue to use XP; however after support ends, your computer will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Microsoft will no longer provide technical support or provide updates to secure any vulnerabilities. As other manufacturers produce new computer accessories like printers, monitors, and thumb drives, XP will not be supported.
If you aren’t in a position to upgrade immediately, there are ways to minimize some of the risks. Update your Windows XP operating system a final time. Upgrade all of your software and keep it updated; this includes your anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware solutions. Add a second browser; Firefox from Mozilla or Google’s Chrome. Uninstall Microsoft Outlook Express. Finally, delete any unnecessary software. The less software, the less vulnerabilities.
If you are in a position to upgrade? What should you do? Either replace the entire computer or upgrade the operating system. If you stay on a Microsoft Windows Operating System platform, the most current Windows 8.1. It has a significantly different look and feel. It is designed to maximize touchscreen devices. Windows 7 is also available. It offers the stability of a seasoned operating system without the radical change of Windows 8.1. Many desktops and laptops available for purchase have Windows 7 pre-installed with a license for Windows 8.1 when you are ready. Other desirable features include 4GB of RAM, built-in speakers, and a three year manufacturer warranty. We do not recommend third-party warranties, only those from the equipment manufacturer.
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Geek trivia: Windows XP is compiled from 45 million lines of code.
As owner and Chief Technologist of IndyTeleData, Steve has been a life-long technology guru. He is excited to add Columnist for the Southsider Voice to his resume.