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If you still run Windows XP, and according to this article from PC World 30 percent of you do, you might have received ominous messages about the impending death of Windows XP support on April 8th, 2014. They may come in an email vendor or in a pop-up message from a product you are running on your computer. The messages sound very grave and can cause undue concern for users. One of the messages a customer received from their software vendor almost made it sound like their software would cease to function properly.
Like the above referenced article states: “When Microsoft says it’s ending support for Windows XP, that means it will no longer produce security patches for critical vulnerabilities in the operating system.” So, basically it is a security issue. Your machine and software will continue to function. Your actual risk to the security vulnerabilities will depend on your specific situation — how the computer is used and the other security software it runs. Is it used primarily for email and internet browsing, word processing and printing documents or a point of sale machine? Is the computer even connected to the internet? These factors should all be considered when deciding your actual level of risk and if concern is warranted.
If the computer is used for internet browsing, it would be wise to avoid using Internet Explorer, but many users have already switched to Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox for security or performance reasons. I often avoid security suite products (anti-virus & firewall) and instead favor a good anti-virus product coupled with the Windows firewall for performance reasons, especially on older machines. However, I would definitely recommend a full-featured anti-virus & firewall product for computers running Windows XP that are constantly accessing the internet. Here is another article about securing your Windows XP computer that recommends the same. The article also reminds users how important it is to back up your data. As an authorized reseller of Carbonite online back up, The Computer Monkey can help you purchase and install Carbonite on your computer.
Last week we had a very thankful business customer who had a hard drive crash but because they had purchased Carbonite in January we were able to get all of their data back on their server and have them up and running again quickly.