A big warning to anyone out there who still uses Windows XP: if you do, your computer is about to become a potentially simple target for cyber-criminals. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.
You are taking a risk, a potentially pretty big one, if, at this moment, you are still using a computer that runs Windows XP. The reason being, Windows XP is officially being put out to pasture.
"April 8, 2014 is our last day that we will be supporting XP. On April 9, your XP machine won't turn into a pumpkin, but we will no longer be providing patch updates and security updates," says David Lochridge of Microsoft. "There's always going to be vulnerabilities in (an) operating system, and over time, those vulnerabilities will continue to get exposed, and people could threaten your personal machine there. So it's really important that you move off that operating system as quickly as possible."
Microsoft says it's also working closely with corporations like banks to make sure they're up to date for themselves and for you.
Getting back to you, though, what if XP has served you well, and you believe this is really just Microsoft's way of boosting its bottom line, trying to scare customers into buying new software or even entirely new PCs? Experts say no, this is real.
"In the case where they're going to be patching exploits in the future for Windows 7, what pretty much can happen is, hackers can re-engineer that code and exploit previous versions, which would be XP, and there's no one supporting it, so there's going to be pretty big trouble," says Jordan Edelson, CEO of Appetizer Mobile.
So you're ready to upgrade from XP, but you don't really want to buy a new computer. Problem is, the computer you have now might be a little old, and you're concerned it might not be powerful enough to run one of the newer operating systems. So in essence, are you being forced to buy a new machine? Not necessarily.
Head over to microsoft.com to download either the Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 upgrade assistant, which will tell you whether the PC you're currently using can, in fact, handle a new operating system.
If you absolutely insist on sticking with XP despite all the warnings, make sure to keep your antivirus software up to date and be especially vigilant when surfing the web or clicking on unsolicited emails.