All pretty good things must come to an end.
On Tuesday, what ended was Microsoft support of its popular and widely used Windows XP operating system that made its debut 12 years ago.
Microsoft had set several dates for the demise of XP, and then extended the deadlines because a lot of people and businesses are still running the operating system and they begged Microsoft to extend XP’s lifespan.
It’s estimated that over the past dozen years, more than 400 million copies of XP have been sold, and that worldwide, 30 percent of computers used by both businesses and home users are still running XP.
So what does this mean for my home PC that’s running XP quite satisfactorily?
Not much, really. You won’t be receiving regular updates or fixes, and Microsoft won’t plug all the security holes that crop up. But nobody is going to get into your computer and drain your bank account because of it.
“As far as usability, your system is not going to shut down and not work any longer,” said Justin Roberts, a computer tech at Compute One in Beckley. “The biggest concern, naturally, is that for pretty much everyone who uses XP it will significantly increase the possibility of a virus infection.”
For businesses, it is a potentially more expensive problem. They may have to find the money for new computers or expensive new servers as they migrate to a newer Windows operating system.
“That’s definitely the immediate concern for businesses — time and money and downtime means less income,” Roberts said. “But once again there are two options … you can either upgrade your computer or just replace your system.”
To see if your computer has the capability to upgrade to a new Windows system, Roberts said, Windows 7 has a free upgrade tool that can determine if your computer is compatible with the new software. It’s available at the microsoft.com website when you search for “Windows 7 advisor.”
“In a lot of cases, it’s cheaper and easier just to replace the system as a whole,” Roberts said.
And Compute One has been doing a lot of that.
“We’ve been very busy swapping out systems for our customers,” Robert said.
Larger companies are paying Microsoft to keep support services active for them, and they are paying millions to do so. But this service won’t be available for home users.
If your computer is capable of an upgrade, you can use Microsoft’s Laplink, a free data migration program at laplink.com, you can migrate all of your files, settings and user profiles to a new Windows desktop or laptop.
The new computer must be running a version of Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.