According to NetMarketShare, nearly 40 percent of all desktop computers are running Windows XP… an operating system that was first released 12 years ago. That’s despite the fact that Microsoft has released three major OS updates since then, and despite the fact that Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows XP in 2009.
Now the clock is ticking on another deadline: In April, 2014 Microsoft will end extended support for Windows XP.
That means the company won’t offer a single security fix or performance update after that date, whether you’re a casual user or a company that’s paying a premium for extended support.
It’s hardly surprising that Microsoft plans to end support for an operating system released over a decade ago — the company typically offers 5 years of mainstream support and 5 more of extended support.
But Windows XP has had remarkable staying power. It’s stable enough to run for days, weeks, or even months on end without crashing. And not only do many users continue to run it, but most Windows apps can still run on Windows XP in addition to Winodws Vista, 7, or 8.
There are plenty of good reasons to upgrade. Microsoft’s more recent operating systems offer better security, improved graphics, built-in search capabilities, and more improvements. But apparently those haven’t been good enough reasons for many users to upgrade.
Of course, Windows isn’t the only option. Folks who aren’t interested in moving to a newer version of Microsoft’s software could always migrate to Ubuntu or another Linux-based operating system such as Fedora, OpenSUSE, or Mint. But I doubt that’s what Microsoft means when the company suggests its time to upgrade to a “modern operating system.”
In fact, according to the Windows Blog, “A modern OS refers to Windows 7 and Windows 8 as well as a modern browser like IE 8, 9 and 10. These are hardened, secure operating systems built to support users’ needs around security, mobility and overall flexibility.”
Anyway, if you care about protecting your PC from vulnerabilities, you’ve probably got about a year to find an alternative to Windows XP, whatever that may be.