Microsoft has finally made good on their threat to stop supporting Windows XP and on April 8, 2014 will stop providing update and fixes for one of their most popular operating system releases. Microsoft released Windows XP in 2001 and end development of it in 2008. They have continued to provide bug-fixes and minor updates until April 8, 2014.
To find out what version of Windows you are running you could go to this page on Microsoft’s web site, but it said I was running Windows 8.1 even though I am running Ubuntu. So if you know you are not running Ubuntu or Mac OS X the following steps will help you find your version of Windows.
The minimum hardware you need to run Windows 8.1 is:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
- Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
I stress this is the minimum to even install and doubling these minimums is needed to run Windows 8 in a efficient and productive way. Also this does not take into account any other applications you might install and run.
So you either need to buy new hardware, which will come with a newer version of Windows or switch to another operating system. To use Mac OS X you need to buy an Apple Macintosh PC which, in my opinion, is a much better interface and less of a target for computer viruses that Microsoft Windows.
If do not want to buy new computer hardware there are alternatives that will run on your existing PC. Check out the free Lubuntu, a lightweight variation of Ubuntu.
If you use you computer for just email and browsing these free alternatives will fit the bill. You can also edit documents (in most Microsoft Office and other formats) with the free LibreOffice office suite software.
There are other free Linux distributions that will run on older computers and here is a link to the DistroWatch.com web-site that lists some of them. Most of these offer a “live CD” download that allows you to download and create a CD that you can use to try out the new operating system and application software without installing it on your system. A try before you install option!
If you don’t have a writable CD/DVD drive or don’t know how to create a CD, you can order a Lubuntu CD from OSDisc.com for $2.95 +S/H. They also sell other Linux variations as well.
Other benefits of most Linux distributions are ease of update and less computer viruses that are designed to attack Linux-based computers.
Before your old Window XP system is hacked, check out the alternatives.