3 months to go: The countdown to XP's demise, along with Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows XP

3 months to go -- the countdown to XP's demise, along with Microsoft Security Essentials

We've known for some time that Microsoft's support for XP was going to come to an end, and that day draws ever closer. In fact we're just 90 days from the end of support on 8 April leaving millions of computers around the world without access to free updates and patches. But it's not just the operating system that is not going to be support. Security tool Microsoft Security Essentials is also being dropped.

In three months' time, there will be no technical assistance for Windows XP, and no automatic updates. This is understandable. In software terms, XP is ancient! But it is still immensely popular. The lack of updates means that there are going to be security problems discovered that are simply never going to be fixed. But it doesn’t end there.

The page that announces the end of XP's life also reveals that Microsoft Security Essentials is due to die on the same date.

"Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date."

This was rumored some time ago, but the update to the "Support is ending soon" finally brings confirmation. So in addition to running an operating system that includes security holes that will not be fixed, the basic malware protection provided by Microsoft will also be dropped. If you don't have a backup copy stored somewhere, downloading it from Microsoft post 8 April will simply not be possible.

Bearing in mind the colossal number of Windows XP machines still in use, this could represent a serious global problem.

The advice from Microsoft? It’s not really surprising, but the company is keen that everyone upgrades to Windows 8.1. The likelihood of a computer running Windows XP is going to be capable of running Windows 8.1 is slim, so the advice is to get a new PC -- "They're more powerful, lightweight, and stylish than ever before—and with an average price that's considerably less expensive than the average PC was 10 years ago."

Despite the security risks, are you going to hang doggedly onto Windows XP, or are you now ready to bite the bullet and crawl towards Windows 8.1?

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