When XP is discontinued

A reader wants to know if XP will still be safe after Microsoft ends support in 2014

A reader wants to know if XP will still be safe after Microsoft ends support in 2014. XP will probably be safe for a long time after Microsoft stops issuing security updates.

First of all, it will have had more than 12 years of updates and security patches by then. That will almost certainly make it more secure and stable than whatever version of Windows is the current new thing.

And remember that malware changes faster than operating systems. The threats you'll have to worry about in 2014 (when Microsoft discontinues XP support) won't be written to take advantage of holes in an outdated, obsolete operating system that few people are still using.

Nevertheless, unless money is extremely tight, you may want to replace your current PC with a new one before 2014. If you're concerned that an important productivity application won't work with Windows 7, you should make an effort to find out. The overwhelming majority do.

And if yours doesn't, you may be able to use Windows 7's XP Mode, which runs the older OS in a virtual machine. See Windows 7: What You Should Know About XP Mode for details.

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