Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows XP, at the time of this writing, has a large install base, but no one has stepped up to support this market as it is getting smaller. Should you keep using it?
My six-year-old Windows Dell desktop, Windows XP, SP3 runs just as well now as when it was new. Do you think there will be a software company or anyone who will provide security updates for all of the many Windows XP users after Microsoft stops supporting in April 2014?
In this excerpt from Answercast #7, I discuss the ramifications of Windows XP security and the various programs that run within it. You can certainly keep using it as long as it functions and you feel comfortable.
In short, no. Old versions of Microsoft operating systems are well past their support date and nobody has stepped up to actually do what you're suggesting; nor do I suspect that Microsoft would actually support that.
Windows XP does have a large installed base today. It's just under half of all computers on the planet. That number is dropping and I believe that neither Microsoft nor some other company (even if Microsoft would let them) are really going to be that interested in supporting a market that is only by definition going to get smaller over time.
I've pointed out in a couple of articles that you can certainly continue to use Windows XP for as long you feel comfortable. At some point (currently April 2014), Microsoft will stop supplying security patches for it. I do believe that at some point you're going to want to upgrade to Windows 7 or some subsequent version of Windows anyway.
I say that because it's not just about Microsoft supporting Windows. It's about applications supporting Windows XP; it's about hardware supporting Windows XP. All of this is dwindling over time and it's only going to get worse. So, you can keep using XP for as long as you like.
I do think that the issue will force itself through some other path. You'll end up wanting to upgrade: to either a new computer or a new operating system.
One thing that did come to mind since XP has such a huge user base; it's entirely conceivable that Microsoft might extend the date yet again.
They already have a couple of times, but I wouldn't actually make any bets on that. I wouldn't count on that as a security approach. But it's certainly something that could happen.
In the meantime, use it as long as you feel comfortable. I do think that before lack of support becomes an issue, you'll end up with something else that will likely be the tipping point to go to a new version of Windows.
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