Windows XP is no longer?
Yes, dear reader, the time is upon us! Microsoft has finally decided that Windows XP's life is over; at least in respect to supporting XP. As of April 8th Microsoft will no longer be rolling out automatic updates or manning their Windows XP support lines.
Is this truly something to be worried about? Yes and no.
Is Windows XP really a threat now?
There is a lot of hype out there regarding XP ending. This is becoming some sort of possible cash cow for evil people that may want to exploit the fact that Microsoft isn't supporting Windows XP anymore. However, I think that the hype is partly a strategic move on Microsoft's behalf to make some big money. Just think about it; multitudes of people going to the store and buying Windows 7 or Windows 8. What a fantastic business opportunity!
Now conspiracies aside, XP is indeed more of a threat than before. Yes, for years it has been exploited, patched, exploited, patched and so on. In my vast tech support history, I have first hand knowledge on how simple it is to exploit Windows XP. Newer operating systems are getting better, but still pretty simple to break through if you know how to do it. Microsoft knows that, the public knows that and the virus writers know that. Basically, what I am saying, is that Windows XP has already been heavily exploited as it is and patched up to the teeth with duct tape or rubber bands. Microsoft has been backing off XP support-wise for years. So, yes, it will be exploited a bit more, but I project that it won't be anything too unusual.
So What About Windows 7?
Windows 7 is becoming the more prominent operating system in the world. Many businesses migrate from Windows XP Professional to Windows 7 Professional. I have seen Win 7 exploited even more-so than XP during the last year or two, however, so go figure. This tells me that the criminal world is targeting the newer operating systems like Win 7 or Win 8; and XP exploiting has become not as profitable.
Win 7's end of extended support is January 14, 2020.
That Old Software!
When upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8, you run into some issues with software compatibility. Some of those business database programs just won't run right on Windows 7. This will increase Tech Support costs as well as force some people to fork out money for new software.
Case-in-point; I have a client who upgraded all his computers. He runs an old financial database program using MS Access 97. Unfortunately, in Windows 7, you will need to turn off UAC in order to get MS Access 97 to work properly. UAC is important to a computer's security by requiring the user's authorization before installing items. Items that could otherwise install automatically in the background had UAC been turned off. This is often times the lifeline between a malware infection or not while someone surfs the web. So he has to decide whether to go with a jimmy-approach, where more buttons and clicks need to be made each time he loads the software, or he can choose to run his software easily by disabling UAC, but leave his Windows 7 somewhat more insecure. Or he can simply fork out $10K on a new financial software solution that is compatible with Windows 7.
A lot of people might face such predicaments when upgrading their operating system. Microsoft has an Upgrade Assistant tool that you can use to see if things about your computer are compatible with their newest operating system. Just Google keywords, "Microsoft Upgrade Assistant".
Better To Be Prepared Than Sorry
All in all, professionally, I advise folks to be prepared and go along with the modern times. Do away with your old computer and make the move to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Or upgrade your current computer to Windows 7 if it is good enough to run it.
Better safe than sorry! And Microsoft getting richer isn't altogether a negative thing since we need big companies like Microsoft to do well so the little guys can keep their jobs.