MSN Messenger wasn’t the only service to get the axe this week by Microsoft: It also announced on its official website that Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 will no longer receive support starting April 8, 2014. From that day on, the long-lived operating system will not receive security updates, and will be exposed to whatever new threats emerge. Whether you’re still using it just because, or for some pressing reason for which you have to continue using it, the time has come to look for an alternative.
Windows XP is a peculiar case. It was released in 2002, and up until September, 2012, it was the most-used operating system among all the Microsoft product family line. Because Vista received so many bad reviews, it wasn’t until Windows 7 came and established itself that at last the title was taken away. Microsoft felt obligated to extend the official support period of 10 years, which is really a success when you consider that today more than 25% of Windows users are still using it.
In just one year, it stop receiving support along with the elderly (but very popular) Office 2003. This doesn’t mean at all that you can’t keep using them, but that the risk of experiencing a malware intrusion will increase considerably.
Those who are still using it because they have to because they need certain software for their employment that doesn’t work on previous versions of the operating system can use Windows XP mode, which comes with Windows 7 Ultimate, Enterprise, and Professional. Or, you can turn to third-party virtualization software such as VirtualBox or VMWare.
But man does not live by Windows 7 alone. Microsoft is now urging users to make the jump directly to Windows 8, for which there is an application that will let you know if your computer is capable of supporting it. Even still, you can always take the other path of freeware, and start using a lighter distribution of Linux, such as Mint or Xubuntu.
Regardless, we have to look towards the future. As we witness MSN Messenger’s last gasps for air this week, Google is also getting rid of services that you’ve been used to for years now such as iGoogle and Google Reader. It is hard to let go of the software that you’ve been using for all this time, but just as in other aspects of daily life, we must adapt or die.