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Windows XP is dying - what can you do?

How many of you use a PC or laptop that runs Windows XP? Regretfully the answer should be very few or none. Microsoft is withdrawing support for this version of Windows software on April 8th 2014.

After April 8th Microsoft will not be issuing any security updates for this version of Windows.

What does this mean to you? If you never ever use it on the internet e.g. browsing or email and never plug in memory sticks or CD's etc. from 3rd parties then you should by and large be OK.

But after this date in April using your PC on the net will be potentially dangerous, especially if you do internet banking or shop on-line. Yes, your anti-virus and anti-malware software (which you do have , don't you?) will afford some limited protection for a short while but unfortunately that's not the only way the bad guys can compromise your PC and get access to your personal details, files etc.

What can you do? It does depend on how old your PC is. It may be possible to swap out Windows XP for Windows 7 or Windows 8. Oddly Windows 8 tends to run better on older equipment than Windows 7. Not only that its very easy to set Windows 8.1 (not Window 8,  but its a free update to 8.1) to start into a familiar looking desktop rather than those pesky tiles if you don't use a Windows tablet. All your Windows XP software should also work. But you do have to back up all your files first as Windows 8 doesn't keep the data from Windws XP when you upgrade. 

Typically a new version of Windows will cost around £80 to £90 plus you need someone to install it if this is not something you feel confident in doing.

There is some test software you can download from Microsoft which will tell you if Windows 7 or Windows 8 will run on your PC or laptop. If it can't upgrade your PC to run Windows 7 or 8 then your only option is to replace your PC or install something like Linux - not really for the faint hearted.

A stark and potentially expensive choice. But look at it another way, if your raincoat lets in water what do you do - you buy a replacement.

If your PC is running Windows XP then it’s quite old. Probably the only exception being if it’s one of the small netbooks that were popular a 3 or 4 years ago before tablets and iPads took off.