By now, most of us have heard that Windows XP is set to expire on April 8th….but what does that really mean?  Most of our XP customers have seen annoying popups and notifications in anticipation of this, but it’s not like the computer will simply stop working in two weeks when dooms day comes.  What is likely is that a number of spyware programs and annoyances will make your computer experience a lot more annoying, if not dangerous to use.  If your start button in the lower left hand corner of the screen says “start”, it means you’re using Windows XP and should listen up and make sure you’re prepared.  For “starters” (I know, lame pun…) here’s a few tips you should review before April 8th:

  1. Virus Protection– make sure you are using adequate virus protection.  If you’re using AVG Free, or Microsoft Security Essentials, it’s time to upgrade.  You need a trusted, professional, paid antivirus software (Norton, McAfee, Eset, TrendMicro….), and it needs to be getting the latest updates automatically.  Make sure that the latest virus definitions were downloaded in the last week or so, and that your subscription is valid.
  2. Upgrade Your Browser– gmail users on XP have gotten the annoying pop-up notifications for a while that they’re using an “unsupported browser” and need to upgrade.  The problem is you can’t upgrade Internet Explorer without upgrading your computer to another version of windows, so it’s time to use Google Chrome or Firefox as your default internet browser.  They have promised continued support after XP’s end of life, meaning that they will fix any security holes in their software…which Microsoft won’t be doing with Internet Explorer.  Use one of those browsers to help protect yourself from security loopholes that are likely to multiply in the next few months.  It’s important- stop using Internet Explorer within the next two weeks.
  3. Backup Your Data– We can’t say it enough…backup now, and backup often.  Nobody knows for sure what kinds of viruses, spyware, and popups will be exposed once support ends….so make sure you do a backup of your data just in case the worst happens.
  4. Have A Plan To Upgrade– the real question is why have you waited to upgrade….do you have programs that only work on XP?  Do you not use the computer enough to justify the upgrade cost?  Are you just planning to use your XP computer a few more months until you purchase a new one?  Whatever the reason, over the next few months it’s going to be increasingly difficult to continue using XP because so few things will work in it, and it will become more of a hassle than a convenience.  In some cases, it doesn’t make sense to purchase the $100 upgrade to Windows 7…it makes more sense to get a low-cost computer replacement…but not always.  Whatever your reasons are for keeping XP, make sure you discuss it with a trusted IT pro (not the salesman at the big box store who makes a commission if you buy a new computer) and work out a plan for your future computer upgrades.

You’ll be hearing a lot about Windows XP on the news in the next few weeks….make sure you understand the difference between the facts and the hype.  Check out this story as well for some additional information.  Lastly, if you’re still a hold out with XP, don’t hesitate to call Canyonero Consulting at or 248-726-0055 to do a free thorough review of your computer situation.

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family who aren’t as connected as you are (think parents or other not-so-tech-savvy friends) to make sure they’re aware of what’s coming up in the next couple of weeks.