Quick, head for the basement! I hope it’s well-stocked with bottled water and cans of Campbell’s, because a dark, dark day is upon is: The Windows XPocolypse has arrived.
That’s right, after twelve years, Microsoft stopped releasing security and system updates for the beloved Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Windows XP has been a staple for businesses, schools, and personal computer users worldwide; in fact, the governments of the UK and China have paid Microsoft to continue supporting XP for an extended period. But what if you don’t have 5.5 million pounds to keep your XP computer up and running?
Here are some options for former XP users from every walk of life.
Very few older computers are able to run Windows 8.1, which is the latest version of Windows. We recommend that you download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant to check if your PC meets the system requirements for Windows 8 and then follow the steps in the tutorial to upgrade if your PC is able.
If your current PC can’t run Windows 8.1, it might be time to consider shopping for a new one.
If you are the type of person who only needs a computer for Facebook, email, and Netflix, you may not need to buy a new traditional computer at all. There are a wide range of options in the tablet market that do much of what your old XP computer could do. Tablets cost anywhere from below $100 to above $1000, so chances are you will be able to find something that fits your budget.
Tablets look and feel a lot like laptops these days; many come with usb ports and have the ability to sync with a Bluetooth keyboard. When you examine a tablet under the hood, you’ll find they are becoming increasingly customizable; if you decide that the 16 GB of memory the tablet came with just isn’t cutting it, you can expand to 32 GB on some models. Some tablets even boast a quad core processor for increased performance. Tablets are growing to be as diverse as PCs, so do your research carefully to decide on the best model for you. A great place to begin your search is the MicroCenter website, where you’ll find tablets from all the major manufacturers for easy comparison.
If you just love that old, dusty PC and will not be bullied into replacing it with any kind of new device, you can always switch to a Linux operating system for free. Linux offers several versions of operating systems to download. Ubuntu, one of the more popular Linux products, has a sleek and modern design similar to Windows 7. It even comes with LibreOffice, a free word-processing program, pre-installed.
While there are several great programs for Linux that are similar to what you’d find on a Windows computer, (Firefox, a music player, etc.) beware that when you install Linux, you sacrifice the convenience of being able to install several programs, like iTunes and Google Chrome, with the simple click of a mouse. Also, before taking the plunge into Linux territory, you’ll want to make sure your computer is compatible with the version of Linux you are downloading.
There’s also the option to just do nothing and weather the trials and tribulations of the XPocolypse as they come. If you stick with XP after Microsoft support ends, the risks of someone hacking your computer increases, but like most other things in life, common sense computer use practices will take you a long way. For practical tips for die-hard XP fans, check out this PC World article on how to keep your XP computer secure without Microsoft’s support.
Of course, you could always cave in to Microsoft and pay the price for a new PC and operating system. Obvious, but easy. Maybe your tax refund is burning a hole in your pocket and you’ve been eyeing the latest and greatest in laptops and PCs. Deals on electronics are sure to surge come Father’s Day, if you can wait that long.
We all knew the day would come when XP, the trusty OS of the past decade, would breathe its last breath, and now we must bravely move forward without it. May it go down in computing history as the effective and user-friendly system that it was.
Images via: Google