The 8th April 2014 saw Microsoft end support for it’s extemely popular and reliable Windows XP operating system, along with the equally famous Office 2003 suite. What this means is that the security and reliability patches that were delivered through Windows/Microsoft Update have ceased, making your system more vulnerable to malware threats and other malicious intrusion. It’s likely time for you, as it is most users, to move on from XP.
If you have Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) installed this will be displaying a message to that effect. The actual virus definitions for MSE continued to be delivered for XP until July 2015, meaning that a system was protected to some degree until then. Office 2003 software has also had its updates stopped, which include juk email filter lists.
What this means is that you should be looking at either purchasing a Windows 7 or 8 license (while 7 stocks last) or investing in a new machine that has one of these operating systems preinstalled. Generally speaking, very few typical home/office Windows XP machines will be able to support Windows 7 or 8, due to the higher system requirements, but some might, such as those that were slightly newer (around ~2005) and marketed as ‘Windows Vista Capable’ for example. Although these may need some slight upgrades, such as more RAM or a replacement graphics card.
To summarise, you will need to upgrade at some point very soon, if you haven’t already. Although some anti-virus vendors still provide support for their programs under XP, this won’t always be the case. Software development is moving on quickly, and XP is no longer in the picture. With no Microsoft support, it’s a risky game to continue to use an XP-based system online. Stand-alone machines that are not connected to the internet and don’t have any new software introduced to them will be fine, as they are ‘cut off’ from the threats mentioned above.
All this said, your PC/laptop will NOT simply stop working. It may just be that you have to put up with, and dismiss, certain ‘support ended’ messages that may pop up on occasion, until you make the move. Please see Microsoft’s link below for more info. We are able to offer data transfer services and other advice relating to moving from an old PC to a new one, so please get in touch if you require assistance.