For weeks now Microsoft has been warning that after April 7, which was yesterday, they will no longer support the system. No support means no security or any other updates. That means hackers will be out in force writing and distributing software to infect your computer and steal as much personal and financial information they can get.
An estimated 30 percent of computers being used by businesses and consumers around the world are still running the 12-year-old operating system. XP's popularity and the durability of the computers it was installed on kept it around longer than expected. Chances are that if your PC is more than five years old it's running XP.
The obvious solution to the problem, according to Microsoft and others, is to upgrade to a newer operating system…Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8. Vista was universally considered to be a disaster. Microsoft quickly put out Windows 7 to solve the problem. It worked well. Then Windows 8 came out last year and it has proven to be nearly as unpopular as Vista. Microsoft has already released one update, 8.1, which still didn’t satisfy users. Another update is in the works but no definite release date has been set.
The backlash against Windows 8 has some people saying they will take their chances, at least for the time being.