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Windows XP is not Y2K…or is it?


Remember all the dire hype with Y2K? Many held their breath and their technology tight to their chests. Midnight came and **poof** nothing. “Huh? What? That was it?” We forgot and moved on like that crush on Patrick Swazye after watching “Dirty Dancing.” (Well, some of us have moved on.)

Windows XP will lose Microsoft’s support on April 9th. That does not mean your computer will stop working if your operating system is Windows XP. It simply means that Microsoft will no longer provide updates that might improve, correct, or protect XP. Updates or “patches” were offered in the past when Microsoft detected something they could improve upon within XP’s operating system. Think of it like your car manufacturer suggesting regular oil changes and tune ups. That’s what Microsoft will stop doing.

The end of Microsoft’s XP support spells extinction to software providers and peripheral manufacturers. That means they will now ignore XP when they roll out a new version or product, just like that forgotten sweater in the back of your closet. What this means to you is that the writing is on the wall. Sooner rather than later, you’ll make a new computer purchase because your current computer will no longer be compatible with new software, printers, or whatever else comes down the pipeline. This kind of built-in obsolescence is hugely wasteful because your present computer is probably working just fine and 97% of the new computer won’t be any different than what you have today. Sadly we are forced to be a “kleenex society” with technology devices.

The other significant issue at hand is your computer security. Up until now if Microsoft knew of a virus threat, they would offer an update to protect XP against it. On April 9th Microsoft will leave you and XP in the woods alone – vulnerable to the whims of computer geeks wasting their intelligence writing viruses to make our lives difficult. (Can’t they take those talents and use them for good instead?) There is a chance that XP may become more of a target simply to highlight Microsoft’s abandoning of their product. Or, XP may slide under the virus-writing radar not unlike that attractive middle-aged woman at the bar who goes unnoticed as she sips her Pinot Grigio. (Where did that come from?) Some virus protection programs will still protect XP for a limited time. You should contact your anti-virus software provider and find out their intentions. For example: Malwarebytes version 2.0 is offering lifetime support of Windows XP.

If you have XP, take a breath and fear not. Look to the future and start weighing your next computer (or tablet) purchase options. Take your time…the end of XP support is Y2K and nothing more. Be extra vigilant about not clicking on something you don’t trust. You are always the first line of defense against viruses. If you haven’t lately, now is a good time to back up your computer. That goes for EVERYONE, not just the XPers out there.

Hold fast and don’t feel pressure to replace your computer until you are ready. In the meantime, the Wall Street Journal has a helpful video that’s worth a watch: