Windows XP support ends: Here's the why and how to upgrade to Windows 8
Microsoft has ended support for Windows XP - here´s what you need to know about upgrading...
10 Apr 2014
Microsoft has ended support for PCs and laptops running the Windows XP operating system - and if you're still running the OS it's time to act.
In this blog post we'll give you the inside line from Microsoft on everything you need to know about upgrading from Windows XP.
Why you must upgrade: no more support = security threats
Windows XP will go down in history as one of the great operating systems of all time.
Microsoft said the OS had helped "hundreds of millions of people get connected and be productive".
However, it said it "wasn't designed for today's mobile, always-connected lives or for protecting you from the new online security issues that have emerged since it was launched".
This is why Microsoft has ended support for the operating system. It means there will be no more official security updates and bug fixes for the operating system from Microsoft.
Microsoft couldn't be any clearer about the need to upgrade. It explains: "PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014 should not be considered to be protected, and it is important that consumers migrate to a current supported operating system such as Windows 8.1 so they can receive regular security updates to protect their computer from malicious attacks."
Upgrading to Windows 8.1
Microsoft is advising people to upgrade to Windows 8.1, either by purchasing a new Windows 8.1 machine or by downloading the software to their existing one.
It says Windows 8.1 will offer you the following benefits:
• A fast experience
• A safe and supported experience
• Windows 8.1 is designed around you. Everything about the operating system is personal to you and supports your work and personal life
• The apps you use are big and beautiful and right at your fingertips
• Customize your start screen with what matters most to you, while easily accessing the things you need like your photos, music, and documents, from wherever you are
Windows 8.1 - now keyboard and mouse friendly
The original Windows 8 was designed with touchscreen tablets and laptops in mind, but the newly released Windows 8.1 update is designed to appeal to keyboard-and-mouse users too.
When switching on your machine the OS will detect whether you're using a laptop or desktop PC and if so boot to the traditional Windows desktop, while the world of apps is also much more desktop friendly.
Find out about Windows 8.1 features for both desktops and tablets with our guide: Windows 8.1 update - everything you need to know.
Upgrading - a new laptop or your existing one?
You've decided to upgrade to Windows 8.1, but should you just download the software or go the whole hog and buy a new machine?
This depends on the age and set-up of your current laptop or PC.
A new Windows 8.1 laptop
If your machine was designed to run on Windows XP then Microsoft "recommends purchasing modern hardware - from touch laptops to tablets to all-in-ones - to take full advantage of the features and touch UI found in Windows 8.1."
It says not only are these machines faster, they also have "greater performance" and "greater security features".
If you do opt for a new machine, Microsoft has created some tutorials to help you get the best from your new computer and Windows 8.1.
Worried about losing your files by upgrading to a new machine?
Microsoft says there's "no need to hold onto your old Windows XP machine just so you don't lose your files".
Microsoft, working with Laplink, has put together a servicve to make transferring files from your XP PC to a new Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 device.
Downloading Windows 8.1 on your existing laptop
If you would rather download the operating system on your current laptop then you need to make sure it's up to the job. You can find out all about system requirements to install a new operating system can be found here.