“Bear” with me: We older computer users just got comfortable with our computers and don’t like to change.
When Microsoft announced it would no longer be supporting its Windows XP operating system, most of the computing world took it in stride. However, for older computer users, this news hits a bit harder. After 12 years with the same operating system, we’ve learned the ins and outs of our PCs and don’t fancy having to learn a new one all over again. So what’s the risk and reward for sticking with or sacking Windows XP? Is it finally time to upgrade? Here are some things to keep in mind as you decide.
Support will fade away over time.
If you stick with Windows XP, it’s important to know that your computer will operate the same as it always has—but over time, you’ll get fewer updates and patches as developers stop supporting it. Even Google will stop supporting Chrome and its other products on Windows XP by the year 2015. So while your programs might operate the same for a little while, eventually they might become vulnerable and sluggish.
As support fades, your risk rises.
Getting fewer updates and security patches means your computer will be more open to program glitches and cyber attacks. For example, the Internet Explorer fix pushed out this month will not protect Windows XP users, and that’s just the first in a line of fixes XP users won’t receive. And since so many people and businesses still use Windows XP, hackers are going to try their best to exploit whatever openings they can find—effectively raising your risk.
Is it worth protecting by yourself?
Savvy computer users might choose to protect their systems with third-party programs (though let’s be honest: most savvy computer users moved on from XP a long time ago). If you’re a casual user, however, now might be the best time to upgrade. And if your computer doesn’t support a newer operating system, new hardware is in order.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a brand new computer! You can opt for an affordable used model or look around for trade-in deals. Just make sure you buy from a trustworthy source—for example, tech-support giant iTOK cleans and certifies used computers for sale on their iTOK Outlet website, and you can usually save a bundle.
Upgrading isn’t the end of the world.
So let’s say your computer is ready to be upgraded, or you’ve purchased a new computer to use instead. It’s not the end of the world—you’ll be back to reading your emails and visiting your favorite websites in no time. Upgrading to a new operating system sounds scary, but Windows operating systems will all feel familiar to you, with minor changes.
If the metro-style tiles of Windows 8 are too intimidating, consider switching to Windows 7 instead. You’ll still get Microsoft support and program updates, but you won’t have to learn about a lot of new features or changes in functionality. For long-time users of Windows XP, Windows 7 might just be a win-win.
Bottom line: You will survive!
Sure, it’s inconvenient that Microsoft is ending support for such a popular and widely-used product, but after 12 years on the market, should we really be surprised? Fortunately, the XPocalypse didn’t turn off all our computers in a single day. There’s still time to think it over and choose where to go from here. Search around online, talk to friends and family, and consider finally upgrading your PC to Windows 7.
Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, maybe it’s time to tackle Windows 8… After all, nothing keeps the mind young and spry like a challenge!