Bill Gates at the Windows XP launch in 2001. (Microsoft Photo)

Are you still running Windows XP? Are you ready for Tuesday?

More than 12 years after Windows XP’s release, Microsoft will officially end support for the aging operating system on Tuesday, April 8 — three days from now. That means no more security updates. Yes, of course, Windows XP machines will continue to run. But when hackers find a flaw in the operating system, Microsoft will no longer even attempt to prevent them from exploiting it.

Determined to stick with it? You’re not alone. More than 27 percent of computers worldwide are still running Windows XP, according to Net Applications data, and even if there’s a rush to buy new PCs in the next few days, that number is likely to stay in the double-digits for a long time to come.

Source: Net Applications

Microsoft has been offering promotions and incentives to get people to buy new Windows machines. But if Windows XP is becoming a rough neighborhood, Windows 8 is like a foreign land.

The company has made many improvements for keyboard-and-mouse users with the second update to Windows 8.1, which also happens to be scheduled for release next Tuesday. Still, especially for someone moving from Windows XP to a new Windows 8.1 PC, the change can be difficult.

xpWhat about upgrading your existing Windows XP machine to the latest version of Windows? Yes, it’s possible, but it’s a hassle. You can’t do a simple ‘in-place’ upgrade from XP to Windows 8.1. Instead you have to save your files on an external drive, make a clean install of Windows 8.1 on your old machine and then bring the files back.

Or you can upgrade to Windows 8 first, if you can get your hands on it, which lets you keep your files, but not your settings.

Migration software is available, but at a cost. (The Windows XP end-of-life is looking like a boon for Bothell-based Laplink Software, maker of PCmover.)

Further complicating matters, many Windows XP-era machines don’t meet the system requirements for Windows 8 or 8.1.

Another option: Dell, HP and some other computer makers still offer Windows 7 on a limited selection of PCs.

Of course, Microsoft’s challenge is that there’s a lot more to the world than Windows these days. Those new Google Chromebooks are perfectly fine for many people. If you want to try something different, there’s always Linux.

And did you hear that Microsoft just released Office for the iPad?

If you’re facing this deadline at home or work, good luck. And let us know in the comments what you plan to do. You can count on us for some moral support, at least.

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  • win7rocks

    Life without Windows 8 has been good. I like Windows 7. It will be hard to part with it when Microsoft ends support for that operating system.

  • balls187

    Could you imagine running a version of OS X from 12 years ago?

    That’s OS X 10.0 Cheetah.

    Say what you will about MSFT, their effort to support for XP was heroic.

  • Alex

    Been running Windows 8.1 for a while now and never plan to go back. Ditched XP many years ago too (in 2008).

  • orcmid

    On Tuesday, there will be the last updates for Windows XP.
    I’ll get those.
    Apparently Microsoft Security Essentials won’t stop updating until next year, but it is nagging me incessantly. I hope it stops, because it’s warnings block any actual security-related notices from MSE.
    I will lockdown both of my Windows XP systems, one running in a VM (under Windows 8.1) and another running on a Tablet PC that is never used personally but continues to operate with Microsoft software that does not function on the latest Windows operating systems and cannot be communicated with from those operating systems (hence the VM).
    There will be no browser use, no e-mail operation, no downloading of files. No acceptance of incoming requests. The only outgoing activity will be FTP for publishing to web sites from the development versions running on the XP machine. I’ll run it until it dies, and then I’ll revert everything to the VM and continue to run it all there so long as there is a VM that will run it.
    All other computers are running Windows 8.1 and I’m very happy about that. Of course there is also a Windows Home Server on the SOHO LAN here. I suspect that may go first. Just not yet. It will be easier to replace though, because it is only used as a file server and for backups.

    • Todd Bishop

      Very interesting. Thanks for sharing, Dennis.

  • shadow44

    I hope the hackers go after Windows 7.

    • Todd Bishop

      That’s odd. Why would you say that?

      • droozilla

        Probably worked on Windows8, and is sad noone’s leaving 7.

  • Patrick Husting

    You think after 12 years of support, they would have found all the security holes and plugged them. :o)

  • forrestsergeante

    XP was my last Microsoft OS. I’d been with them since DOS/Window’s for Workgroups 3.11. I finally got fed up with all of the viruses, hardware issues and updates that seemed like viruses and have since gone fully over to Linux Mint, which is the fastest and easiest OS installation I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing on my various machines. The only drawback is the inherent problems associated with running Windows software, which can be alleviated somewhat with the use of an emulator known as Wine, but it doesn’t always quite work. But given that there’s so much free Linux software available, I find that I don’t miss Window’s specific software any more.

  • thejory

    Just go with Win7 instead. Maybe not Win8, but still 2 generations newer then XP. It will be quite a while yet before MSFT stops updates for that OS.

  • XP Lover

    Stick with XP

  • Unicode

    I hope this article and comments will effect someone to just try GNU/Linux before upgrading to a newer version of Windows.

    The main advantages of GNU/Linux systems are:
    – it’s free of cost, no need to buy a license
    – it is more secured than Windows
    – it’s is easy to use
    – low system requirements

    Most of the computers still running Windows XP are already old, so to upgrade to a newer version of Windows you’ll probably need to upgrade your hardware as well. Most of this computers can run GNU/Linux without any need to upgrade it’s hardware.

    I’ve tried running Ubuntu 14.04 on a 7 years old, low entry laptop (Core2Duo 2.13Ghz, 2GB RAM, integrated graphics) and it runs like a charm… Laptop from 2007, that can run, full featured 64-bit Operating System made in 2014 without any problems tells a lot how effective GNU/Linux OS is.

    You can download at:
    More opinions here:

    So, try it before upgrade and you can do yourself a big favor in the future…

  • Strongbow

    “What about upgrading your existing Windows XP machine to the latest version of Windows? Yes, it’s possible, but it’s a hassle. You can’t do a simple ‘in-place’ upgrade from XP to Windows 8.1″

    This is bad information. Most XP machines are barely, if at all capable of running Windows 7, let alone Windows 8 if they are more than 4-5 years old.

  • md

    OK, XP is a system coming of age, but I think it’s unfair to put that much pressure on users to upgrade. After all most of us have payed for this OS, and we should be alowed to run it without remorse. Besides a couple of Win7 systems, I run my good old electronics lab PC under XP, because some of the software isn’t available for Win 8 (or even 7). Think I’m going to run it in a virtual machine.

    I own a 14 year old car (a former swedish brand), still healthy and going strong. I don’t know what I would say to my dealer should he tell me that support and spare part supplies were to be stopped, but I guess it would be rather unfriendly …

    So, if you like your good old XP, stay cool, laugh about MSFT’s hysteria. There are loads of articles in the press and on the web teaching you how to run the beast more or less safely. Good luck!

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