If you’re still rocking Windows XP, we admire your dedication and ability to squeeze over a decade of use out of an operating system you presumably purchased long ago (nobody pirates XP, right?), but the end is nigh if you care at all about security. Come April 2014, Microsoft will cease supporting the legacy OS, thereby leaving your system vulnerable to new and emerging threats.
You’re not alone. According to StatCounter’s data, over 20 percent of PCs still run XP, making it the second most popular version of Windows behind Windows 7 (nearly 52 percent). That’s a pretty frightening statistic because unless there’s a mass exodus between now and next April, malware writers are going to be frothing at the mouth.
The landscape is already pretty grim for Windows XP users. Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report (Volume 15) highlights how much of a disadvantage users of the legacy OS are at compared to more recent versions of Windows. According to Microsoft’s data, the infection rate of Windows XP is significantly higher than Windows 8 and is rivaled only by the 64-bit version of Vista.
For every 1,000 computers running Windows XP, 9.1 are infected with malware. That compares with 1.4 per 1,000 for Windows 8 64-bit. Windows 7 with SP1 is less than 5 per 1,000.
Are you still running Windows XP on any of your machines? If so, do you plan to upgrade by April 2014? The clock is ticking… We highly recommended upgrading to at least Windows 7, although many PCs are being released with either Windows 8 or 8.1.