April 8 death date for Windows XP

The 13-year-old Windows XP platform will shortly no longer be supported by Microsoft.

April 8 death date for Windows XP

From next Tuesday, the 13-year-old Windows XP platform will no longer be supported by Microsoft, leaving any user still using the software vulnerable to hackers. While it is true that users won’t immediately be at risk from hackers, they always seem to find a flaw in the system and it’s only a matter of time before such a flaw is utilised to gain control of Windows XP users’ computers.

According to NetMarketshare statistics, close to 30 per cent of Australian computers still run Windows XP. More troublingly, 95 per cent of the world’s ATMs, including a large majority in Australia, also run off the Windows XP software, with only a third of these likely to be upgraded to a newer platform before the deadline. A Microsoft spokesman did confirm that a number of large enterprise customers in Australia had contacted Microsoft and purchased customer support while they upgrade their systems.

Pop-up reminders began appearing on the computers of Windows XP users earlier this month with a suggestion that they upgrade to the latest version of Windows at a cost. It is important to check before upgrading your computer that it meets the minimum requirements to run the more recent software. Microsoft has confirmed that their free anti-malware program, Microsoft Security Essentials, will continue to be updated until July 2015.

So, is it safe to continue using Windows XP? The simple answer is no. The more complicated answer would be – if you buy items online using a credit card, perform internet banking or post sensitive data online, you must upgrade to continue safely performing these tasks. If you use the internet for sending emails and consuming news, and wouldn’t be upset if your email account was compromised, then you may be able to get away with continuing to use Windows XP until Windows stops supporting Microsoft Security Essentials in July 2015.

What are your options?
Your options are very limited. The three choices are:

  • Continue using Windows XP at your own risk
  • Purchase a new version of Windows and update your computer
  • Purchase a new computer

Find out more about your options from www.microsoft.com.


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    3rd Apr 2014
    There are different views around about what might happen after support for XP ends, but the short answer is, no-one knows! However, a couple of other precautions to take if you want to continue using Windows XP for a while:
    - Don't use Internet Explorer as your browser, use Google Chrome or Firefox instead.
    - Use a third party anti-virus program, instead of Microsoft Security Essentials. Possibilities include McAfee or Kaspersky.
    3rd Apr 2014
    Go to the CloudEight/InfoAve site and get a further 12 months SECURITY for your Windows XP computer.
    3rd Apr 2014
    Thankyou very much, Drew.
    Pass the Ductape
    3rd Apr 2014
    Don't you just get sick of the way Microsoft continues to reinvent itself every few years? Obviously for the better when a few things are found to operate more easily, but I've noticed that in general, Microsoft, instead of making the operating system better, rearrange the system; in many cases, making the platform more complicated to use. People then believe they're getting a better product and therefore line the pockets of those at Microsoft with extra billions of dollars! XP was superb and Microsoft could have easily applied security patches for any flaws they were being taken advantage of, but of course, there isn't any money in doing that is there?
    3rd Apr 2014
    Ductape, I totally agree - Windows XP is the best programme Microsoft came up with. We had to change over to Windows 7 some time back when the computer crashed, and it doesn't even have email support built in and so we lost all our email contacts.
    The choice is very simple for me. It's time to change to Apple Mackintosh it's a much better option as far as I'm concerned with many programmes available as part of the system whereas you have to buy them from Microsoft or find it elsewhere and end up with clashes between programmes in the OS
    3rd Apr 2014
    Best solution:
    Change to Linux. much more secure, much more stable, and completely free.
    I've been using Linux Ubuntu for several years now, and on the rare occasion I've been forced to use Windows 8, I can't believe how clumsy it is, and installing additional software is a nightmare. Download sites deliberately try to mislead and trick users into installing useless, irrelevant or dangerous products.
    In Ubuntu, all extra software is free and can be installed with a minimum of fuss.
    No need to 'defrag' or worry about anti virus software...
    Super easy even for mugs like me.
    3rd Apr 2014
    I have also gone down the Ubuntu road and am so glad I did. I had always been of the opinion that Linux was for super geeks. I never realised how easy it would be to set up and run Linux. Rather than buying Windows 7, which would probably run like a dog on the old Win XP computer, or buying a new computer, I advise Win XP users to replace their OS with the free Ubuntu, which will run on any computer that can run Win XP. My neighbour has just taken my advice and is also very happy with the move. When installing Ubuntu, you are given the choice of replacing your old operating system or installing it alongside it. On my laptop, I have installed Ubuntu alongside Windows Vista because there are no Linux drivers available for my old scanner and printer.
    6th Apr 2014
    Pete, I'm an XP user and have never heard of Linux. Does it look the same as XP and will it affect the Internet? How do I go about installing it?

    I have Norton security and wonder if that will suffice for XP security for the time being.

    Dumb questions but I am at a loss.
    6th Apr 2014
    Annamaria, Linux is a family of many distributions, many of which can look like XP or any other interface you can want. Linux is a complete operating system which does anything a computer is capable of, only mostly much better technically than Microsoft and Apple (Apple's iOS is a form of linux, by the way).

    The simplest description of the linux family is if you imagine a motor car with the same engine and internal workings, but a range of instrument panel designs to sit in front of.

    See my earlier post about Puppy Linux, which I think is the best one to start off with for a non-techo person.

    Ubuntu is one of the biggest linux distros, but not really better, it's main grace is that it's the distribution the computer magazines write about, begrudgingly, because it's better funded and promoted. It's also a full-blown corporate system used by lots of governments and similar overseas. A lot of computer power is necessary to make it look pretty. It is larger because it has several options of programs to do each job, and it's also noted for being unlike Windows in appearance. A better option if you want the same type of "instrument panel " as Windows in a full-blown office system is Linux Mint or Zorin OS linux which features a range of look-alike Windows interfaces. Mint has exactly the same programs as Ubuntu but a more familiar interface to Windows users. However, as me, if you don't have much need for the largest spreadsheets and complex graphic design power etc, and don't want to mess with installations etc, Puppy Linux is the go.

    Fair dinkum, MS Windows is actually a sub-standard product forced on the public by basically giving it away to the computer manufacturers to put on their machines. It is a cash cow for them and Microsoft as it makes computer upgrades mandatory to run their "next model " OS. Because they can't make money out of it, they refuse to admit linux exists. You'll have to break out of their scam-cycle yourself, no-one else will help you.
    7th Apr 2014
    G'day Annamaria, I pretty much agree with Mudgecko (Apple is actually based on Unix, as is Linux). If you're comfortable with XP I would definitely recommend Mint as the best distro for you. If you can burn a CD, all you have to do is Google Linux Mint and download a copy, which you can run from a CD (or USB) without making any changes to your computer. Once you're comfortable with it, to can install it next to your XP.
    I have to keep a copy of Wndows because I started editing videos with Pinnacle Studio many years ago, and it won't run on Linux.
    So my advice is, keep your XP for your legacy software, but DO NOT use it to surf the net.
    Linux is much safer. Mozilla Firefox and Chromium work just the same on every OS.
    3rd Apr 2014
    Microsoft has been notorious for releasing software with significant bugs and leaving it to the users to find them!! My son, a self professed "geek" has extolled the virtues of Linux for over 15 years. The trouble is the Microsoft has corned the media market so that no one knows there is an alternative. Having said the above I run Windows 7 with minimal problems and use Firefox as a browser with no real problems. Bill Gates and his cronies have hijacked the internet user base and swamped the market with inferior products.
    4th Apr 2014
    Too right. Windows is without doubt the world's most successful con job.
    Consider for a moment how much Hockey could save by switching all gov departments to Linux.
    US defense dept uses linux. US nuclear subs are all run on Linux.
    French Parliament uses Linux
    In Brazil, 35 million students in over 50,000 schools use Linux.
    Meanwhile, our gov. whinges about not having enough money while throwing bucks at obscenely rich Bill Gates.
    Old Fella
    3rd Apr 2014
    Wonder whether the legal liability exposures currently in play between Microsoft and Others hasn't spooked the Windows XP owners into exiting from future claims through abandonment and burial of the old system, rather than commercial reinvention which can only recognise and foster competition. Depends I guess which alternative costs less or generates more wealth?
    I acknowledge Ductape's observation ., Security Patches don't pay as well and there are so many (security) flaws.
    Possibly some 'litigant' / claimant will take some of Microsoft's accumulated wealth before Windows XP is put to final rest? Old Fella
    4th Apr 2014
    FREE YOURSELF from Microsoft's grasping games. Linux is easy, legally free of charge, superior to Microsoft in every way -- with no viruses, malware and the scourge of defragging etc! It is not at all hard to set up. There are very many types of Linux of varying complexity, but by far the simplest to start with (and fastest) is
    Puppy Linux, a blindingly-fast Australian-created linux distribution.

    It does not even require installation, ever. Just pop in a bootable CD (or a USB stick or SD card); it loads into your computer's RAM and runs completely from there. You download the linux software, (or get it off a computer magazine's DVD) and burn yourself a blank CD which your computer boots off -- into a complete, full-featured Operating System. Puppy Linux makes even an old computer, (which Microsoft and the shops forever want you to replace, because it suits THEM) blindingly-fast. Using the computer's RAM makes the system as fast as is possible to get, and your hard-drive is only used to store your photos or letters etc, and any additional personal changes so they're ready for you next time you start up. Do yourself a favour, search Google for "Puppy Linux" and get off the buy, buy, buy! scam very profitably run by software sellers and computer salesmen. They'll never tell you about it!!
    5th Apr 2014
    MS might be killing off XP but my AV is going to cover me till 2018 after the plug is pulled.
    Besides if I can no longer access the Net because of XP, its time to get offline altogether.
    Check on your AV as many have bucked MS dump of XP.

    Then if you want to go indepth, keep XP and go Firefox Portable and you can still be online through FF but have your own private built in emails via XP.
    6th Apr 2014
    Drew. Thanks for that. I still have XP but Puppy Linus might be the go after reading the other posts, however, you said that we have no choice but to change OS or buy a new computer and didn't mention Linus.
    What are YOUR views on Puppy Linus and in the meantime, most of my bills are paid through CBA Netbank by Direct Debit. Will that process still be safe after XP ceases to be serviced by Microsoft?? Thanks.
    6th Apr 2014
    Grateful, the shortest answer is that any Linux will do anything that other systems can. Internet-based stuff, such as banking, works exactly the same in all matters. If it can be seen on a browser, it'll work in Linux. (The international standards of internet or 'cloud computing' are met by all operating systems).
    7th Apr 2014
    Thanks for your response mudGecko. I want to keep things as simple as possible. I am perfectly happy with how everything is currently working but, I am genuinely concerned that all of this will be undermined when XP is no longer serviced by Microsoft. My lap top is still perfectly good, so, I would rather stop using a computer rather than replacing it just because Microsoft wants nme to. Bill Gates can fly a kite for mine.
    I don't want to stuff up what, at the moment, satisfactorily provides my simple requirements of basic banking through a secure Commonwealth Bank Netbank system, my emails and some share trading on Commsec. How will they be affected if I installed Puppy Linus (prefer to download than the CD suggestion). Thanks again.
    P.S. As you stated all my local computer people said exactly what Drew stated, no choices, that's why I am a bit hesitant to press thye download button on anything at the moment.
    7th Apr 2014
    Grateful (and others), just to confirm, to help you if I can.

    With Netbanking and so on, in fact anything that is accessed through a web browser, the same things are done the same way, irrespective of which OS is used. Once you log in to any website, the internet procedures are written to meet universal standards. Security procedures of the banks are still working just the same in Linux, as any other OS. (It's rather like how various makes of boat still travel in the water the same way.)

    I'm not trying to make money out of you like the salesmen, and therefore I'm not telling you lies. They are. Linux is legally freely available to all, it's the result of computer experts freely collaborating to produce an outstanding computer system that is not allowed to be owned by anyone, legally. Of course, this makes it poison to Microsoft and its fellow travellers, like computer salesmen.

    Journalists, like most people, are mostly ignorant of linux because it does require a little effort to make a change in their conditioning. Laziness is universal.

    I sincerely hope you, and any others who'd like to escape being conned, do a bit of research about linux, you'll find it's not hard at all to give it a go. Why not try, for example, Puppy Linux, on non-financial stuff if you are nervous at first? You'll soon realise that Microsoft, and Apple, are con-merchants, and salesmen are salesmen.
    Capn Dan
    7th Apr 2014
    I have two computer running XP and just boght a new laptop running Win 8. Win 8 rhymes whit hate, so I upgraded to 8.1 and installed Classic to make it more manageable. So to Linux, that I have used for some time on other machines and tablets. I went and bought a Linux magazine and loaded the latest distrobution of Unbunto from the disk. $20.
    Will use XP for all offline work and Linux for all on line with dual boot on all machines. Working great. Cheers all.
    7th Apr 2014
    What's not mentioned is that Office 2003 also will not be supported after Apr 8, 2014. I have stacks of emails in 'Outlook', so while Ubuntu might solve the browsing of internet aspect, will it provide protection for 'Outlook' emailing? I suspect not.. and will require XP to be retained as the vehicle for emailing, even if IE (internet explorer) is not selected 'on'. And by the way, Avast has a free internet security download, better than MS security essentials.. according to magazine tests.
    8th Apr 2014
    Outlook, like Explorer is a poor program. There are many email clients available on Linux, most -if not all- of which are capable of importing your emails and settings from Outlook.
    Microfsoft Office can also be run on Linux systems, with a program called "Wine". the alternative is "Libre Office" which I find perfectly adequate, and capable of opening and editing Excel and Word documents.
    9th Apr 2014
    Thanks pete...good info
    8th Apr 2014
    Folks, the great, free option of Linux replacing MS and Apple stuff has been summarised correctly in earlier posts by several, but today I found an article giving a bit more info for those who want to know more:

    9th Apr 2014
    You could also take a look at Linux - my wife and I have both been using a version called Mint for over 5 years with no problems, apart from learning some new ways of doing things.

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