The Windows XPocalypse is almost upon us. After a legendary dozen year run, Microsoft will stop providing security patches for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Without Microsoft’s protection, all those WinXP PCs will have targets painted on their hard drives.
Understand the risks
Smart attackers are likely waiting to exploit holes they already know about. They’ll unleash their attacks when Microsoft has moved on. The problems will never be fixed, so they can continue to attack them until the last Windows XP system vanishes from the Internet.
Choose your software wisely
Most antivirus solutions will still continue supporting Windows XP. Even Microsoft’s own Microsoft Security Essentials will support Windows XP until July 14, 2015. Antivirus-testing company AV-TEST asked 30 different antivirus companies about their plans for Windows XP support and all of them committed to support Windows XP until at least April 8, 2015. Most committed to supporting it for even longer, into at least 2016.
Microsoft will also stop supporting Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. If you’re still using Office 2003—or, even worse, Office XP— you should update to a newer, supported version of Office for improved security. Yes, this means only ribbon-ified versions of Office will be supported. Sorry.