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Microsoft to stop support of Windows XP users in April

Discussion in 'Domain Name News' started by Acorn Newsbot, Mar 28, 2014.

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  1. Acorn Newsbot

    Acorn Newsbot Junior Member

    Jan 2006
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    April 8th 2014 marks the official end of the “extended support” period for Microsoft’s popular Windows XP operating system. After this cut-off date, Microsoft will no longer offer patches, updates or help to people still using Windows XP.

    Does it really matter?
    The end of support may not sound like a big deal, especially if you have never had to contact Microsoft directly for help before. But without regular patches and updates, computers running Windows XP will be left exposed to hacking and other cybercrimes.

    Microsoft issues security patches for all of their operating systems on an extremely regular basis to combat new threats as they are discovered. With all development halted in Windows XP, these flaws will be left open for exploitation by hackers, placing your personal information at risk of being stolen or damaged.

    Electronics giant Sony lost 101 million user accounts and was fined £250,000 after hackers managed to penetrate their PlayStation network in 2011. The firm was forced to admit that hackers exploited their outdated software that had not been properly maintained or patched. This is an extreme example, but shows how hackers are always looking for outdated software that makes it easier for them to successfully attack computers.

    What can I do? - Upgrade
    Since the release of Windows XP in 2001, Microsoft has continued working hard to develop new operating systems designed to be more secure and to provide a better computing experience for their customers. Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 have all come onto the market since 2001.

    Clearly, Microsoft would prefer Windows XP users to upgrade to help boost uptake of the new Windows 8. In the long term, upgrading (or replacing your computer entirely) will be unavoidable.

    What can I do? – Get patched
    As there won’t be any more security patches released for Windows XP after April 8th, it is important that your computer is as up-to-date as possible before the deadline. Carrying out an update is as easy as taking your web browser to and following the instructions to download and install any updates.

    By patching yourself before the 8th April deadline, your computer will be at marginally less risk of falling vulnerable to attack.

    What can I do? - Update your antivirus
    Antivirus software helps to identify and remove many of the tools and applications that hackers use to try and compromise your PC. If you do not already have antivirus installed, you should get something in place as soon as possible.

    Antivirus will add some additional protection after the XP patches stop being released. However, antivirus and anti-malware are only a temporary measure until you can upgrade your operating system or replace your computer.

    Future trends
    Most software is now being developed in such a way that you can access everything you need from your web browser. Google Apps and Office 365 are two examples of software that runs in the Cloud - the programs are installed on Internet servers and accessed from your web browser.

    Traditional 'boxed' software that is installed on your PC is usually bought outright – you pay one price to use the software forever. However, cloud software is effectively rented, paid for either monthly or annually via a subscription. One of the major benefits of cloud software is that all upgrades tend to be included as part of the subscription fee, avoiding the need to buy new copies every few years, effectively avoiding this issue in future.

    Windows XP has lasted much longer than originally planned, due in part to its incredible popularity with businesses and consumers. Because XP is easy to configure, use and maintain, many people have chosen to stick with it, despite three more advanced replacements having been released since 2001.

    Many people are somewhat upset about Microsoft’s decision. However, few computer-related products actually last 13 years, proving the resilience of the product. The withdrawal of extended support does mean that you will need to plan for to replace your operating system or computer sooner rather than later.

    Image from Flickr






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