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Windows XP is on its own after April 8

Seems like yesterday when Windows XP launched in New York, 44 days after 9/11. That was the first time I met Microsoft’s Bill Gates, sitting next to him for an hour talking tech, XP off course and sharing his view of the future.

One thing Bill could not predict was for how long his Windows XP operating system would be around. Certainly not 13 years, three times as long as most operating systems. During that time Microsoft released Windows Vista in 2007, Windows 7 in 2009 and Windows 8 in 2012.

More than 30 per cent of Windows users are still hanging on to Windows XP, the most stable and over-patched OS in Microsoft’s history.

By now, most folks should know Microsoft will officially stop support of Windows XP on April 8. It will still run, but without Microsoft’s monthly patches and vulnerability fixes.

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Windows XP 13 year reign ends April 8. Supplied

The analogy of computer security was your home, whose door lock had to be changed due to a constant barrage of hackers (the bad kind) trying to get in. But with Microsoft leaving XP on its own, it will be like a poorly maintained home with window drafts and cracked ceilings.

We’re still going to provide fundamental security protection for the next year or so, but without updates from Microsoft it’s going to become an inherently non-secure system, and users should certainly upgrade to modern OS as soon as they can,” said Kaspersky’s Greg Sabey.

Like competitors McAfee and Symantec, Kaspersky is giving that extra bit of time for XP owners to switch home and business computers to Windows 7 or 8.

After April 8, Windows XP will be in more danger of being compromised. That’s because when Microsoft continues releasing monthly fixes and patches for its newer operating systems, the bad folks will use reverse engineering to compromise the now unattended Windows XP.

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If your Windows XP computer is not connected to the Internet and is just functioning like a stand-alone computer, running displays or old specialized, plotters or scanners, you can still use them. But now with so much cloud computing it’s impossible for XP to keep up beyond its own shell.

Consumers are better off buying a new affordable laptop or desktop computer with Windows 7 or Windows 8. It is not recommended you upgrade a Windows XP decade-old computer to a newer OS. The end of XP is actually good news for Microsoft who ends up selling a whole pile of new mostly Windows 8 licensed computers replacing older XP machines.

Oh yes, here’s some tidbits from my first Bill Gates interview in 2001.

“Flexible displays and solid state memory will change the way people use computers.”

And an early hint on his current Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on his global view of a computer on every desk: “There are more important things than computers in third world countries who still need the basics of a healthy life.”

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-CA/windows/end-support-help

WINDOWS 8 DOWNGRADE ANYONE?

Many folks ask me about going back to Windows 7 from their current Windows 8 computers. Here are your options:

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-Try the free Windows 8.1 upgrade which allows you to always boot your PC to the familiar desktop mode. The other iconic enhanced touch mode is still there and occasionally shows up, but really, it’s a demonstrably better OS than Windows 7, especially for higher resolution screens.

– You can still buy Windows 7 computers at selected stores. HP recently announced it will sell computers with a Windows 7 option, due to “popular demand.”

-You can upgrade your current Windows 8 with a purchased licence disk of Windows 7, $120, but will likely need tech help. You should also know if your Windows 8 computer will even allow a downgrade.

“Many laptops have a hardware lock that does not allow a downgrade,” said Edmonton Memory Express North End Manager Jennifer Tustin. “You may have to also replace the hard drive before downgrading to Windows 7.”

Try learning more about Windows 8.1 folks, and save the hassle.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/home

-The next Windows 9 OS, late 2014 or early 2015, will likely have more desktop emphasis, if you can wait that long.

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