If you are a Windows XP user, the day you’ve dreaded for years is quickly approaching. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end user support and security updates of the operating system it introduced in 2001. Don’t feel like you’re alone, though. According to NetMarketShare.com, almost 30% of computers are still running XP. By ending its support of XP, Microsoft is undoubtedly hoping to bump the market share of Windows 8, which is currently just over 10%.

“Our guidance is that you need to get off XP. It’s really that black and white,” says Tom Murphy, Microsoft’s spokesman handling the end of XP support.

It’s been years since any computer I use on regular basis has run XP. I am an early adopter, so I was using Vista, 7 and 8 in some fashion almost as soon as they were rolled out. Admittedly, though, most of the PCs I have are running Windows 7. I am only running Windows 8.1 on my Windows Surface, as I feel the upgrade isn’t worthwhile without a touch display.

If you are still running XP, you will want to upgrade your operating system, and probably your computer too. Once Windows stops issuing security updates for XP, the operating system will become more vulnerable to attacks and if something goes wrong you have nowhere to go for support. Those reasons alone should be enough to spur you to upgrade. Going one step further, if you are running a computer that came with Windows XP, it too is probably past its expiration date. Technically, many XP machines can run the latest version of Windows. According to Microsoft, all you technically need a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of hard drive storage. For many, the biggest issue may be that your display has to have 1024 x 768 resolution. Truthfully, though,¬†Windows 7 and 8 are more resource-intensive than XP, and your older PC may be overwhelmed, leading to poor and frustrating performance. To ensure the best possible user experience, upgrading your operating system and PC at the same time may be way to go. Each year I write a PC Buyer’s Guide, so you may wish to read it before going out and buying a new computer.

While there are also many Windows’ alternatives, such as Apple’s Mac OS, Google’s Chrome OS or even Linux, keep in mind that is you are running any type of investment software for Windows, the likelihood that a version exists for an alternate operating system is slim-to-none.

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Wayne Thorp

Wayne A. Thorp, CFA, is a vice president and the senior financial analyst at the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). His primary responsibility is to oversee AAII's content strategy. He is also the program manager for AAII's Stock Investor Pro fundamental stock screening and research database program and is on the advisory boards of AAII's Stock Superstars Report and Dividend Investing newsletters. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a 1997 honors graduate of DePaul University in Chicago. Wayne's interests include stock screening, technical analysis and charting, social media and tech gadgets. However, in the summer he'd prefer to be hip-deep in northern Michigan's Manistee River fly-fishing for rainbow trout. He is also a rabid University of Michigan and Detroit Red Wings fan.

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3 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Joe Lan March 19, 2014 at 9:17 am - Reply

    It’s hard to believe that Windows XP was introduced 13 years ago! I agree–you should really be on 7 or newer by now.

  2. danerd March 24, 2014 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    solved the problem. (dual boot ) xp for specific apps linux ubuntu for everthing else. have no need for windows 7 8 or9.

    • Wayne Thorp
      Wayne Thorp March 24, 2014 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Yes, if you have a need to run Mac software. The Windows operating system has come so far, especially in terms of stability and security, that to buy a Mac to run Windows is, in my opinion, a waste of money. There are only a few quality investment software titles for the Mac so if you have an individual investor, your resources are better spent buying a Windows PC.

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