Bye bye Windows XP: what does this mean for the future of our computers?
After 12 years in action, Microsoft has decided to stop its support system for Windows XP. This of course does not mean that your computer is going to explode in the next 24 hours, just that it will be more prone to viruses from 8th April 2014. As Microsoft will no longer be providing updates or security alerts, hackers will have easier access to your information if you still use Windows XP.
With around one third of computers around the world using XP, this change will of course cause many problems, particularly with the estimation that there will be a 66% increase in the number of infections on the system from this month.
What are the next steps for XP users?
In the short term
It might not be in your budget to change your computer right away so it is necessary that you download the most recent updates and make sure that you have an antivirus that is not from Microsoft. It is also advised to change Internet Explorer for Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Chrome will work on XP computers until April 2015 and Mozilla has not yet released an end date.
Ideally, you will not use your Internet at all but this is pretty much impossible in this day and age! Therefore you should create a user account with limited access to read your emails. This means that if you accidentally download a malware, the hacker will only have limited access and not the same rights as the administrator.
In the long term
There will come a time when Windows XP is no longer practical, or more importantly, too dangerous for the overall health of your device. You then have 2 different options: upgrade to more recent software such as Windows 7 or Windows 8; or choose a new computer with the latest software already pre-installed.
Your choice will largely depend on your current computer’s specs as both Windows 7 and Windows 8 require at least 1 GB of RAM, 16GB of disk space and a 1GHz processor.
Should you choose Windows 7 or Windows 8?
If you were happy with Windows XP, Windows 7 will suit you down to the ground because it is very similar. Both the menu navigation and the desktop look very similar to its predecessor. However if you fancy a change, Windows 8 is currently the most recent software for Microsoft and adapted for touch screen devices such as a touch-screen laptop. This however does not mean that your ‘standard’ computer will not work just fine with it.
Whatever your choice, just be careful with your online activity and make sure that you have an antivirus installed! RIP Windows XP!