Windows XP is coming to the end of its long life and will no longer be supported by Microsoft after the 8th of April 2014.
What this means for users that are still using Windows XP is that there will be no more security patches or bug fixes released after this date for Windows XP. This can leave you vulnerable to future security holes that are found and also does not bear well for future compatibility as companies are likely to stop making drivers for XP (some already do)
What does this mean for me if I am an XP user
There are a number of options available to you:
1) Windows XP will continue to run as usual even after April 2014 the only difference is that it will no longer update. You will not turn power your computer on the morning of the 9th and find it dead, it will still run as it always has. So you first option is to continue on but without the important security patches and updates that will protect you and your data by upgrading to a new computer/operating system.
2) Another option is to upgrade your current operating system to a newer version. 3 versions have followed Windows XP and those are Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Windows 8 is the new operating system from Microsoft launched in late 2012 and preceded Windows 7. Windows 8 is a slightly different operating system to the previous versions and can take a little time to learn. The first thing you need to do is to see if your computer is ready for Windows 8. If your computer is getting on a bit in terms of age it may not run windows 8 effectively and you may have to resort to option 4. You can check to see if your computer can run Windows 8 by using the upgrade assistant at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-8/upgrade-to-windows-8
3) You can always upgrade to a later version of Windows but not the latest. Many people are put off by Windows 8 and the way it has changed the Windows operating system. You can still purchase Windows 7 from the likes of amazon and other retailers and support for these products should commence for the next few years if you don’t want to upgrade to Windows 8 or purchase a new computer that is likely to come with Windows 8.
4) Finally there is the option of a new computer which will more than likely come with the new version of Windows, Windows 8 but will have you up to date with the latest technologies to make the most out of the new features in Windows 8.
Although the date is still over a year away until the end of XP support it is still best to be prepared for what you are going to do well in advance of this date. This is epsecially important if you are a business that still runs Windows XP machines (of which I know there are many).