April 8, 2014 marks the end of the line for Windows XP
What does that mean for you?
Microsoft has decided that it will no longer support Windows XP after April 8, 2014. If you have Windows XP you will no longer get Windows Updates which contain important security patches for Windows XP. Included in these updates are any software updates or fixes for hardware and other Microsoft software products such as Microsoft Office products.
It may also be time to consider new hardware. Since Windows XP has not been sold for several years, you may have hardware that is too outdated to run the newer operating systems. The price of upgrading to a new Operating System on older hardware most likely can not be justified.
What should you do?
If you believe you have newer hardware, you may be able upgrade to either Windows 7 or Windows 8. The minimum needed to upgrade is a 1 GHz processor with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2, 1 GB of RAM, 20 GB Hard drive space, and Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver.
Realizing that these are the very minimum needed to run the operating system, the following requirements are suggested for anyone wanting to do anything more than simple use the internet: 2 GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, 80 GB Hard drive and Microsoft Directx 9 support.
What if I want to keep Windows XP
Truthfully you need to know that you will be more likely to be infected with viruses and malware due to Windows XP vulnerabilities. Malware writers quickly use exploits in system to install their malware. Any issues with the Windows Operating system itself will not be fixed by Microsoft so the exploits will always be vulnerable. Microsoft will not provide Windows XP users with any support should you have any problems with your Operating System.
What if I do not us my computer on the internet?
If you absolutely do not connect to the internet at any time, then you will still be able to use your computer as you have in the past. This means absolutely no internet access. Any wired connection to the internet should be unplugged and any wireless access should be turned off or removed to prevent accidental access. The biggest problem with the end of support comes with internet connected computers. If you are not on the internet then you can not be infected with problems from the internet.
One caveat: Even if you are completely off the internet, if you use a USB drive, CD, DVD or any other means to transfer files that are infected to your XP computer you may still be subject to infection.