April 8, 2014 will mark the end of support for Windows XP. This means that Microsoft will no longer provide updates or security patches for the operating system launched in 2001. The last major update to the software was released in 2008. As a result, XP users will no longer be assured of having a 100 percent secure software, and Microsoft encourages them to upgrade to an OS with current support. Also Read - Microsoft releases ISOs for Windows 11 vNext alongside other builds
The software editor reminds users that no updates — and in particular no security updates — will be provided for versions of Windows that are no longer supported. In practical terms, this means that new malware could take advantage of possible remaining security weaknesses to wreak serious havoc. For this reason, users are advised to install a new operating system rather than sticking with Windows XP, particularly if their machine is always connected to the internet.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft recommends upgrading directly to Windows 8.1, the latest version of its OS. This is an option for users whose PC meets the minimum requirements: processor speed of 1GHz or above, a DirectX 9 video card with WDDM, at least 1GB of RAM and a hard drive of 16GB or more. Users can also opt to switch to Windows 7.
The last option, of course, is simply to buy a new PC equipped with a current OS, particularly if one’s current machine is unable to handle Windows 8.1.
Over 12 years of support
Microsoft officially launched Windows XP, in separate versions for professionals and individual users, on October 25, 2001. Before taking it off the market on June 30, 2008, Microsoft sold 400 million versions of XP, which had a global market share of over 80 percent at its peak.
At the time of its launch, XP revolutionized the interface of Microsoft’s signature software, presenting customization features, a simplified start menu, a revamped task bar and even the ability to burn files onto a CD-ROM through a simple drag and drop. Today, XP holds the record for the longest-selling version of Windows. Even following its withdrawal from the market in 2008, XP remained the world’s most used OS until October 2011, when it was overtaken by Windows 7, according to Statcounter. Other than the possible vulnerability to malware after the cut-off date on April 8, Windows XP will continue to function just as before.
Upgrading to Windows 8.1 from Windows XP, a guide from Microsoft: windows.microsoft.com