The Retirement of Windows XP is Drawing Near! It is true, Microsoft will be retiring Windows XP on April 8, 2014. However to give organizations more time to complete their migrations, Microsoft will continue to provide antimalware updates through July 14, 2015. The retirement of Windows XP has been a popular topic the past many months for good reason. According to researchers, just under a third of PCs are still using Windows XP which means many users will be effected by this change. Security Limitations While the "retirement" or "end-of-life" for Windows XP does not mean it will suddenly stop working on April 8th. It does mean XP users will face an increased exposure to malware attacks over time. Microsoft's Malware Protection Center has thrown a lifeline to the millions of users still running the XP operating system by announcing its intention to provide antimalware updates through July 14, 2015. With that said, Microsoft has stated "Our research shows that the effectiveness of antimalware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited. Running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today's threats." Microsoft recommends the following best practices to protect your PC Use modern software that has advanced security technologies and is supported with regular security updates. Regularly apply security updates for all software installed. Run up-to-date anti-virus software. Productivity Limitations Windows XP first appeared at the end of 2001 and because of its age is missing key productivity features included in newer operating systems. Windows 7 and 8.1 contain a number of features that help you multi-task and work more efficiently than you can in Windows XP. Windows 8.1 also offers a timesaver called Automatic Maintenance which manages the little things that keep your PC tuned and optimized. Compatibility LimitationsAs Microsoft continues on its path to retire Windows XP, you'll find more and more compatibility issues with software programs. Software vendors have already begun announcing their intentions to discontinue support and testing of future versions of their products on Windows XP. Websites are also taking a similar approach and those who continue to use Windows XP will be limited in the sites that they can access. Hardware Technology LimitationsAlso because of its age, Windows XP cannot take full advantage of the latest hardware advances. Using an operating system that's more than a decade old can cause limitations when it comes to buying peripherals and devices to use with it. As new technologies are developed, such as wireless printers and Bluetooth keyboards they're generally engineered with the latest operating systems in mind, and unlikely supported on Windows XP. So What Does This Mean For You?Our advice to you. Do some research on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to determine what will work best for your needs. The two operating systems function very differently, so make sure you take time to learn about the differences between the systems. Also check into the hardware requirements for each system to determine all items that will need upgraded. DWD has helped many of its clients make a smooth move away from Windows XP. Contact us today for a free review of your system. By DWD Technology Group, a Microsoft Certified Partner serving clients throughout Northeast Indiana.