Are you still using Windows XP? (Not sure? Cick here: Am I running XP?) If you are running XP, fair warning, on April 8, Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP. XP is 13 years old, if you are still using it, it is probably time to upgrade. The last computer you could have bought with XP on it was about 2006 so we are talking about an 8 year old computer at the least. It probably can’t run most of the new software anyway. That said, we have a shelf here of perfectly good working laptops still running Vista, XP and yes we even have an old Windows 98 laptop that won’t die so we use it to display pictures. (Our penalty for following our own purchasing guidelines is our equipment never dies!)
Moving forward to 2014, If there is a new security breach (i.e., hackers find a crack), your data is vulnerable. Do we think the world is going to come crashing down on XP users on April 8th? No. But it could also be a problem if your other software stops working or supporting that operating system. So obviously, for work purposes, it is the best bet to upgrade. Whether we like it or not, XP is history so let’s deal with it and move forward.
Before doing anything else, the most important thing you can do to make sure your upgrade goes smoothly is to make sure you have a good backup plan in place. You have 6 days to use an online backup service (Dropbox, Carbonite, Microsoft Onedrive or Google drive are just a few you could use). But after April 8th, if you are restoring those files you should be restoring to a machine running Windows 7 or up. Never hurts to have backed-up your data to physical media as well. Why not use this as a time to do a little Spring cleaning? Dump old unnecessary files and archive the ones you want to keep.
If you have already upgraded to Windows 7 and are running certain applications in XP mode then Microsoft suggests that you disable Internet access while running those applications. That will probably become a pain in the neck sooner rather than later but if you really can’t afford to upgrade those pieces of software, maybe run them on their own machine.
If you absolutely hate Windows 8 you can upgrade to Windows 7 and there are some companies that still offer it. But why bother? If you are upgrading anyway, do it right. In a few more years you’ll have to upgrade to Windows 8 anyway, why not get acclimated now? There are also easy utilities to install to make your Windows 8 machine act like Windows 7.
Learn What You Need To Know about the upgrading from Microsoft here.