XP Updates to End

                                                                                                by Don Trauger – Kennett
Microsoft’s monthly security updates are an important part of today’s secure PC computing. Windows XP is scheduled to end its security updates in April of next year (2014) for this decade old operating system. This important change will affect your computing security after that date.

Your anti-virus program depends on a secure up-to-date operating system provided by Microsoft. Without these Microsoft updates the anti-virus program installed on your computer bears the responsibility to protect you. This will be the case in April of next year unless Microsoft has a change of mind.

Hackers can hardly wait for this to happen. It’s widely thought that they will sandbag their latest developments until April, 2014 before unleashing them on “unprotected” XP systems. The level of sophistication from these hackers is extraordinary. They can and will reverse-engineer future Microsoft updates for Windows 7 and 8 to see if they can be applied to XP. If so they will tilt PC security in their favor. If that’s the scenario, then your anti-virus program will have to carry the full responsibility for your protection. Unfortunately there are no anti-virus programs that are bullet proof. Hackers currently develop their malware to work around anti-virus programs. They are very good at this task. Next year their job will be even easier if you are still using an XP computer.

If you decide to wait to see what happens in April then make sure you know how to use your anti-virus program. Items such as checking to make sure you have the latest anti-virus update and being able to run quick or full scans will become more important. Anti-virus companies will continue to support their programs on XP. However, the problem is that it may take several days before they can develop and download to your computer the necessary protection against the latest threats. It’s estimated that there are over 30% of all computers that will be using XP come April of next year. Hopefully you will have made a wise decision before then!

Windows 8.1 will be in stores by the end of October. This reworked version promises to improve upon the negative reviews Windows 8 has received, particularly in its tiled interface. Also returning is the familiar “Start” button. Good deals can now be obtained on existing Windows 8 computers. Microsoft has promised to upgrade older Windows 8 computers to version 8.1, free of charge.

You have plenty of time to consider making a change. This topic and others are discussed at our monthly PC Club meetings which are held on the second Tuesday at 7:00 PM, upstairs in the Ardmore room of the Community Center.