We're just a few weeks away from a fairly significant event in the tech industry - the end of Windows XP. Well, it's not the "end" in the apocalyptic sense (unless you believe some of the worrywarts spouting online), but
Roughly 30 percent of the world's computers still run Windows XP. In the next couple of columns I'll outline the options for those of you who are still using XP, either by choice or necessity.
I've had enough reader feedback over the years to wager that there are a lot more people in
l Updates: Extended support is
When extended support ends, so do the updates. That's all that happens initially - new updates are no longer provided, but your computer won't stop working overnight. If anyone tells you otherwise, ignore them.
There's a lot of scare-mongering going on to encourage people to buy a new computer or upgrade before the support cut-off. Comparisons are being made with the infamous "
And so it will be on
l Risk: Naturally, the longer you leave Windows without updating it, the more at risk you are. Windows updates are important.
To understand why, you must first appreciate that more than any other popular software, the Windows operating system is not a static program. It's more like a work in progress.
Between the day you switch on your computer for the first time and the day it's carried off to the dump, your Windows operating system will have gone through several incarnations. Core files will have been replaced with newer versions many times.
l Service packs: If you use the built-in Windows Update feature, you might install updates as soon as they are available, or you might have installed a collection of smaller updates rolled into one major update package known as a service pack.
These are released for IT administrators like me, to enable us to run a single process to bring a computer up to a known, supported update level. They're just easier to manage than keeping track of thousands of separate updates.
Next week, I'll tell you what steps to take before
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