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When Microsoft introduces a new product they will continue to support (give updates to make sure it keeps working with other programs, websites, etc. and stays safe) for a certain amount of time. Eventually it decides the time has come when it doesn’t want to invest any more money in the people still using that program and it pulls the plug; for the operating system known as Windows XP that time will fall April 8, 2014.

Microsoft announces it and gives you information so you can buy their newer products here:

Do you really need to by their new products? Well, the world as we know it won’t end on April 8th. If you’re running a machine with XP on April 7th, it will still do everything it did before on April 8th or 9th or 10th. The problems come in if you plan on buying new software or if you plan on going online. The people who exploit security breaches for fun and profit have been waiting for this to happen and they are fully expected to release a wave of attacks after this date. These attacks will be designed so that even if you have an up to date antivirus program on your machine (which everyone should), it still might not stop them. Going forward new software will become less and less likely to work with XP, so if you need a computer to run programs you already own offline and that’s all you want it to do, you should be fine. If you want a computer that is safe to go online with, it’s probably time to look at some sort of upgrade.

PC World offers this practical advice filled article, but if you have a tech savvy friend you normally ask questions about important tech things, ask them about this, the sooner the better.

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.