Microsoft Ending XP Support : Your compete guide to Why, How to and What to do

Microsoft's official support for Windows XP will officially end on April 8, 2014. Microsoft will be no longer releasing security updates or any sort of patches for Windows XP and no more official, direct support will be provided to its users.

This gives rise to a lot of questions, specially in the minds of XP users.
  • Why microsoft is ending the support for XP?
  • Should XP users stay with windows or move to some other alternative like Linux?
  • What are the alternatives available other than windows?
  • Should you contiune using XP after Microsoft stops supporting it?

This article here should be able to answer all such queries.

Why microsoft is ending the support for XP?

In 2002 Microsoft introduced its Support Lifecycle policy based on customer feedback to have more transparency and predictability of support for Microsoft products. As per this policy, Microsoft Business and Developer products, including Windows and Office products, receive a minimum of 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support), at the supported service pack level. Thus, Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will go out of support on April 8, 2014.

XP is 11 years old, and though the kernel (core) of it is basically the same as the core in windows 7/8 the majority of the OS is so outdated that it is now too old to keep updating it to work with newer programs.Plus program makers can't take advantage of new features if they have to write for a 13 year old OS that doesn't support much of what they want to do. So they write for the new OSes and exclude XP.

Besides, Microsoft spent millions keeping XP updated, and they only kept it going this long because of the number of people that relied on it. For comparison, support for Windows 98 stopped 6 years after it was introduced.
As its over a decade old operating system, microsoft doesn't want to waste money on supporting it anymore. It doesn't make any sense for them to continue wasting resources on such an old OS.

And if you add to that the fact that Microsoft's business model requires people to buy the new OS off of them at every opportunity, forcing people to upgrade as soon as possible gets them more money faster. They couldn't do it sooner with XP because there wasn't anything good to replace it, and businesses need time to test OSes like Windows 7 before they upgrade their staff en-masse.

Besides all this, there is one reason for this XP hype that should not be put out of consideration. The hype is about selling a more modern OS, that is all.

Should XP users stay with windows or move to some other alternative like Linux?

Linux has become easier and easier to use as the years have gone by. The typical Ubuntu experience is actually easier than the old, clunky XP install. When you consider that MS is proposing that users upgrade their computers to Win8, Ubuntu might actually be easier than anything MS is capable of producing.
Switching from XP to Linux will generate just as many questions/problems as switching them to windows 8 would,so why not move to an alternative that's at least better in terms of price and security.

People often have have fear of terminal when it comes to Linux. But the main thing that should be kept in mind is, you don't have to use it if you don't want to. There is a user friendly version for every application and an alternative to each one you have ever used in windows, that too for free. Modern Linux distros like ubuntu are too smart with applications like software center and synaptic package manager that make the installation experience easier and better than any windows version. Also preventing the danger of installing some malware or virus as in windows.

Another factor that should be kept in mind is that Windows 8 user interface is quite different from XP which forces the XP users for a change and people, obviously, do not like change. The hardware requirements to run Windows 8 are comaparatively much more than XP and most users would not spend dollars on the hardware just because they want to run windows 8. On the other hand, they need not buy a new computer or upgrade their existing hardware because their current configuration is fast enough for some of the distributions of Linux.

So, if a user has a hardware that runs XP well and now there is need of a supported OS that should work well on existing hardware, Linux would be a great choice.

What are the alternatives available other than windows?

There are several Linux distributions that can be used as alternative for XP. This article here gives you the best ones you can use.

Should you contiune using XP after Microsoft stops supporting it?

There won't be anyone to fix bugs on XP, offer patches, monitor hacker activity, and using XP could potentially cripple systems. Michael Menor, a US-based military computer specialist and network engineer, says in a blog post that hackers will pounce on Windows XP within 10 minutes of Microsoft withdrawing support and this could impact 29% of the world's PCs that still use XP.

Not only can Microsoft wash its hands of Windows XP support, but so can all the companies that made software for XP.
It not just microsoft who will stop supporting XP, but also the companies that make software for XP. They might have already stopped developing for the OS years ago, but they have still been supporting their applications that run on the OS. So, the main concern is that security software vendors will likely stop patching, updating and supporting their softwares.
So, if you still think that having a good hardware firewall in front of your computer system and a virus scan/anti-malware product installed locally will reduce the risk of viruses, malwares and hackers, you are welcome to the 2nd innings of XP.


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