Microsoft Windows XP was probably the best operating system ever developed but after 12 years, support for Windows XP will end on April 8, 2014.
There will be no more security updates or technical support for the Windows XP operating although users of the OS will still be able to use the product they will now need to rely on third party providers to provide solutions.
So what does this mean for most of the people out there using XP today?
The main consideration when upgrading your computer is cost. That cost is not only found in the initial cost of the hardware but also the Operating System Cost and all of the Software that you run.
Because the hardware running XP is outdated a simple OS Upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 will not be enough. Anyone wanting to upgrade will incur not only a OS Upgrade cost but a total reconstruction of their computer.
The CPU necessary to run newer OS’s will require a new Case, Power Supply and Motherboard. Older Cards and drives will not be compatible but you can probably find an external hard drive enclosure to keep your files until the upgrade is complete.
Back when WinXP was at the top of its game I was a Desktop Software Developer and there came a time a few years into Win7’s life that deploying and supporting this older software meant complete rewrites. At that point I pretty much ended my Desktop Application Development however some of my tools are still out there and available for download.
Unfortunately that push Microsoft gave developers back during WinXP is no longer there. The vast amount of tools and the number of source code sample sites on the web has decreased significantly to the point they are almost absent.
Software developers are spending their time writing online solutions or designing for Phones and Tablets.
Investors are more interested in Cloud Products .. because they don’t really understand what the Cloud is.
So, if you are running XP what should you do?
I would suggest that you consider upgrading over time but instead of running out and buying a new computer right away I would establish an upgrade savings plan where you put a few dollars aside and wait for the best solution.
Personally I build my own computers.. and normally I do so by looking for sales.. unfortunately the next big sales won’t be for some time. You can expect a sale or two around memorial day and then one for father’s day and graduation.. After that is back to school and then the black friday sales that start the first week of November.
In the next few months you should put enough away or go out and find some free after rebate staple products you know you can use.
Look for wireless USB Mice and Keyboards on extreme discount or free after rebate.. look for a Case and Power Supply which you can also get free after rebate or at a discount price.
Then you want to find out what price level and performance level of CPU you can live with. I would suggest an i5 and a motherboard with on board video to start out. You can get some nice motherboards for about $50 to $75 on sale with a few slots for cards but with everything onboard like video, audio and USB support you are pretty set for the start.
Price everything out and understand what a normal retail price is.. then the normal sales price .. then an excellent sales price.
For instance Win8 pro costs $199 from microsoft and that sucks
You can get the same thing normally from a reseller for $125
and on a good sale day you might find someone selling it for $74.
Now if you stumble across a sale of win8 pro for$29 as microsoft has had on special then you grab it even if you don’t have the rest of your computer yet.
You can do the same for a Case and Power Supply but when you buy your CPU and Motherboard you really want to get them at the same time.
It might take you one weekend it may take you 3 months to gather all the parts and assemble them.
Or .. just find a great sale on an assembled desktop computer with everything installed.
Once you have your computer I suggest that you look at solutions like OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office because it is free and it will save you hundreds of dollars on software that works just about the same.
Then you should look at Ebay and Amazon and TigerDirect and NewEgg to find software sales for things you cant find for free at sourceforge or do without.
And remember look for sales. and look on SourceForge now for free software you can use on your new computer.
Other than that I would continue using your computer with the knowledge that you will need to install your own firewall and virus protection software.
And don’t buy anything else for your old computer unless its an emergency like a mouse died .. then see if you can get a USB Wireless one that you can transfer to your new computer in a few months.