The Death of XP

April 9, 2014

End of support popup

It is said that all good things must come to an end. Released Dec. 31, 2001, Windows XP has served us well. But it is now over 12 year old, and the time has come to say goodbye. Microsoft ended support of XP on April 8. If you’re still using XP, then you need to take action to protect yourself.

Microsoft will no longer fix security flaws found in XP. Even worse, the updates that are released for other Windows versions will help hackers and crooks find unfixed weaknesses in XP’s defenses. It will not be safe to access the Internet with an XP computer. You shouldn’t even copy files from another computer, as those files or the flash drive itself could be infected. Having an anti-virus program is not enough protection. They simply cannot block everything, and all of them will stop supporting XP eventually.

What can you do? These are your options.

Most likely you won’t get a virus today because of this problem. Microsoft did issue updates for XP on April 8, so the worst danger has not started yet. They will issue updates for more recent Windows versions on May 13, and might issue one or two before then. That’s when the bad guys will start working hard to break into XP, and the updates for other versions will help them know how to do it. There’s even speculation that they may have already found some XP weaknesses, and have waited until Microsoft dropped support to take advantage of them.

Some people have valid reasons for staying on XP, but most of us do not. If you choose to continue accessing the Internet with XP, you risk losing everything on your computer, having personal accounts hacked into, getting false charges on your credit cards, having your identity stolen, and any other nasty thing unscrupulous people can figure out how to do. It’s simply not worth the risk.

What version of Windows do I have?

If you don’t know what version of Windows you have, it is very easy to find out. Look at the lower left corner of your screen. The start button is different for each version. The Windows 8 start button is not always displayed, but you’ll know if that’s what you have. I have also listed the currently announced end of support date for each version.

Start buttonWindows version Dates generally sold on new PCsEnd of support date
Windows XP start buttonXP Dec. 31, 2001 - Jan. 30, 2007April 8, 2014
Vista start buttonVista Jan. 30, 2007 - Oct. 22, 2009April 11, 2017
Windows 7 start button7 Oct. 22, 2009 - Oct. 26, 2012Jan. 14, 2020
Windows 8 start button8 Oct. 26, 2012 - July 28, 2015Jan. 10, 2023

How can I learn more?

For more information about the end of support for XP, see Windows XP support has ended. For information about the life cycle for current Windows versions, see Windows lifecycle fact sheet. Also, a web search for “xp end of life” will return many articles.