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FLASHBACK: The Window is shutting - XP is going away - Odessa American: Celinda Hawkins

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FLASHBACK: The Window is shutting - XP is going away

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Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014 6:30 am

Last weekend I was hit by a virus — one that antibiotics and medicine can’t cure — and only the trusty computer guy can fix this. Or can he or she?

While I was watching endless pages of fairies and leprechauns pop up on my screen, I remembered a recent news story that warned about the fact that the Windows XP operating system is going away. No more automatic updates to protect your computer from malware or viruses — what techies call “security patch management.”

And you can no longer call the tech support in India or wherever and get someone to walk you through a problem — Windows XP, otherwise known as Office 2003, is completely going bye-bye as of Tuesday.

Here’s a little background: Windows XP was a hugely successful operating system and is still used by millions all over the world. But it is ancient — having been in use for a phenomenal 12 years. The system was succeeded by Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. If you have any of the latter operating systems, you are OK.

What does this mean for those of us who are tech immigrants (brought kicking and screaming in to the tech world) and only use our computers for writing, a little surfing and emailing? You can still use it, but the system will be vulnerable to everything from viruses to cyber attacks. So get ready.

Here is some helpful information. 

  • Microsoft has stated that customers who don't move away from the Windows XP operating system before it's retired face a 66 percent increase in malware attacks.
  • XP's retirement will be a hacker heaven — they'll be standing by to attack as soon as Microsoft retires Windows XP.
  • Cybercriminals are expected to head into overdrive in releasing exploits of vulnerabilities.
  • Organizations who keep XP in place as a primary operating system are painting a big bull's eye on their computers and networks.

I asked Jerry over at Triple C computers in Odessa if there is cause for alarm on Tuesday and he said yes. Virus mongers have probably already timed viruses to strike that day. He’s already got a two-week waiting list for repairs.

“I think we’ll get very busy and the time (to get repairs done) could be up to four to five weeks,” he said.

Jerry reminded me, that the news has been out there for a year and it is not like it is a surprise. So OK, I found a blog on the Microsoft website dated April 8, 2013 — and yes he’s right

What does it mean to those of us who haven’t purchased a computer in 10 or 12 years?

The simple answer (this suggestion is on the Microsoft website) is buy a new computer or at least install a new operating system — like Windows 7 or 8. But if you opt for installing a new operating system, you can’t just upgrade, Microsoft gurus say. It needs to be a clean install — that means you need to back up all your data, clean off your computer and start over.

Or there is the alternative — just buy a new computer. This is Microsoft’s blatant way of telling us we need to get a new computer. And who is raking in all the cash? The computer guys. What a deal, the folks who make the stuff can make your computer life so hellish that you will go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a new operating system or thousands on a new system.  It’s a scam — albeit clever, sneaky, underhanded and, well, brilliant.

So, let’s see, I have to back up my computer, remove all of the software, put it on a disc, go get Windows 7 or 8, follow instructions on the clean install and hope I get it right.

Nevermind. I think I’ll buy a Mac.

Odessa, TX

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