If you’re still running Windows XP you’ve got one year of support left.

roadends_by_Johan_Larsson_flickrIt’s amazing to think that Windows XP has been around since 2001 and there are still a crap load of people using it daily. Microsoft has been supporting it all along with new patches for any vulnerabilities that are found, but unfortunately that support will be coming to an end in just about a year’s time:

Windows XP, Internet Explorer 6, Office 2003 enter their final support year | Ars Technica.

Windows XP drops out of extended support on April 8, 2014. As of April 9, 2014, there will be no more security updates or other fixes made for the ancient operating system.

Joining it are Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP, Office 2003, and Exchange Server 2003. Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 will also end support on that day, but newer Service Packs will continue to be supported. Naturally, this also includes “Windows XP Mode” in Windows 7 and other virtualized solutions.

If you’re one of the 38% of folks who still run Windows XP then now is the time to start considering moving on to something else. Once support for patches ends the longer your continue to use the OS the more vulnerable you will become. It’s impossible to patch every possible exploit and it’s only a matter of time before new ones are found. The more unpatched vulnerabilities discovered the more likely you are to fall victim to one. Especially if you spend any amount of time on the Internet.

So what should you make your next OS? That depends on you and your needs. Microsoft is, of course, hoping you’ll make your next OS Windows 8, but unless you’re going to buy a new computer with a touch interface of some sort then it’s probably not the ideal choice. Windows 7 would probably be a better option and it’ll continue to be supported for many years to come. If you’re buying a new machine and aren’t interested in Windows 8 then there’s always the Apple Mac as an option, though it would mean learning the ins and outs of an entirely new operating system and putting up with Apple’s annoying attitude of dictating how you use the hardware you spent so much money on. If you have older hardware and don’t want to upgrade or spend any money there’s always several flavors of Linux available to choose from. With a year left of support for XP you’ve got some time to investigate the various options and make a decision.