If you are still relying on Windows XP, it's time to switch your operating system as Official Windows XP support is going to close down on April 8, 2014. This was the 'extended support' which was continued after the ‘mainstream support’ ended in 2009.
Released in 2001, Windows XP has been one of the most popular Microsoft operating system till date. Even after 12 years, Windows XP is still used by 38% of computer users which is just behind Windows 7. It became popular because of features which were user friendly.
What does 'end of support' means?
Even after 12 years, Microsoft was still creating security patch and updates and sending them through Windows Update for XP users. Also, it provides both paid and free Windows XP support. But after April 8, 2014, Microsoft will stop updating windows XP. Even the security and firewall won't be updated for Windows XP making it more and more prone to virus and hackers.
After the official Windows XP support ends, this operating system will remain defenseless to any new patches found. However, it won't stop functioning but the new and updated version of patches will not be produced. Also it will lead to lesser number of software compatibility for Windows XP Operating System.
What to do next?
Since Windows XP security will be at risk, it is not advisable to use it any further. The updates including security updates won't be upgraded which will make your system an easy meal for hackers and more liable to virus attacks.
Security Patches are extremely important as it shields operating system from new threats. After Windows XP support stops working, there is only one option left for users: Upgrading to latest version of the operating system.
Which Operating System to choose?
There are plenty of Windows Operating Systems available for upgradation like Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Windows Vista was released in 2006 for the general public with new features. Inspite of that, it received a lot of criticism for issues with privacy, security, software compatibility, slow performance, driver support and product activation. Keeping these flaws in mind, upgrading to Windows Vista will be actually downgrading.
Updating to Windows 7 and Windows 8 will be a complex task as many software are not compatible with them. This might create a problem as along with updating the operating system, users will have to find alternatives for software as well. Also the hardware requirements for these two OS are different. But Windows 7 also has a xp mode operating system which can be a fruitful operation for Windows XP user.
Windows 7 (XP mode) as an option
To ease the pain of transition, Microsoft created Windows 7 (XP mode) to decrease the vulnerability of Windows XP. It is licensed copy of Windows XP within Windows 7. But Windows 7 (XP mode) is only available for Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise Edition of Windows 7.
To get this working, users need to download Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP mode separately. Although it might create some minor issue depending upon your hardware specs, otherwise Windows XP Mode is fast and easy to install.
Therefore, Windows 7 (XP mode) is the best option among all to get the upgradation as well as compatibility for your Windows XP operating system.