Microsoft ends support for Windows XP

It is the blue screen of death for Windows XP -- sort of.

After 12 years, Microsoft is ending support for the popular operating system that is still being used on about one-third of computers around the world. The updates and security patches for the software are slated to end today.

Not having support isn't just a hassle, it's a security risk. Computer experts say computers that continue to run XP may be increased targets for hackers and other do-badders online.

If you have a computer that's more than five years old, chances are it's still running XP and should be updated with new software. If you don't know for sure, there's a site that will tell you if you are in fact running the now-retired operating system.

Computers that are running Windows XP may or may not have enough power to run a newer version of the operating system that still receives support from Microsoft. If you have enough power, when you upgrade, you'll need to reinstall your old programs and restore your files from a backup.

Of course, your computer will still run with the old-school version of Windows -- but Microsoft recommends you upgrade or at the very least, install the last update, being issued today.

Important links:

Windows XP check site

Upgrade site

Microsoft tutorial on backing up data files

Windows XP end of life site

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