This has led to a bit of a panic, so let's set some things straight.
- XP (obviously) continues to work after April 8th has passed.
- Any sudden problem on your computer over the past 3 weeks is probably unrelated to this.
- There might not be a need to upgrade to a later system - but there are probably good reasons to do so.
Do I need to upgrade?
The answer depends on how you are using your computer, you will need to upgrade if:
- It is a compliance requirement with other organisations you are working or sharing data with. Most users are not affected by this, but those dealing with financial (banking / credit card) transactions, healthcare or the legal profession may find themselves required to move away from XP.
- Your XP system is already showing signs of deterioration. After a few years (sometimes sooner), XP systems start to suffer unexplained slowdowns or hangs. This is reason to upgrade regardless of April 8th.
- You anticipate adding or upgrading programs or software which are not XP compatible.
- You have a less than adequate antivirus/security system. You can get round this by replacing your free/cheap antivirus with ESET, Kaspersky or the like.
- You want improved performance.
What's the risk if I don't upgrade?
If you don't upgrade then you are exposed in two ways.
- A new piece of software, or an upgrade, might not work thus leaving your computer unable to function fully.
- Without the Microsoft security upgrades, your computer will become vulnerable to new malware (viruses, trojans) and to hacking.
I'm just a home user, can I stick with XP?
Get a decent antivirus/security system, avoid suspicious websites and watch for dodgy emails. Review the situation in 2015.
Can I upgrade my old computer?
It depends a lot on what it is. I have recently upgraded a 7 year old PC with no difficulty.
If your PC is capable of utilising 4GB of RAM (thinking memory) then Windows 7 should be viable.
Is it cheaper to buy a new computer instead?
Probably not. You will still have the time and expense of installing programs and transferring data from the old system. A new machine will, however, almost certainly be quicker with more capacity for expansion.
What about getting a second hand PC with 7 already installed?
This can be a cheaper option if you are 100% sure of the provenance of the computer. You might be buying a computer already compromised by virus or hacker.
Is there somebody I can talk to?
Sure! Call 020 8 662 1124 for free advice or email on firstname.lastname@example.org .