Windows XP Computers at Risk - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Windows XP Computers at Risk

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As of Tuesday, Microsoft is no longer supporting the Windows XP. The 300 million computers around the world still running that operating system are now six times as likely to get viruses.

"They're not going to get any security updates for any new security vulnerabilities that come out, so they're going to be wide open for viruses and different things to attack them," said Jason Heacock, owner of TechNuts at 2411 W 26th St in Erie.

"So those holes aren't going to filled and they're going to see a ton of problems in the coming months," Heacock said.

XP users essentially have the option of upgrading to a newer operating system, or shelling out for a new computer.

However, because the XP operating system is 12 years old, many computers still running that OS will be too old to handle upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Windows 8 costs $119 at Best Buy, and Windows 8.1 rings in at $199. The more familiar interface, Windows 7, is no longer produced in hardcopy and customers will have to search for the download online.

TechNuts says that most computers 2008 or newer should be able to handle an upgrade. Their repair store can run a diagnostic on customers' computers and determine if a upgrade is viable. They can also clean install the upgrade on those computers.

Some customers think that Microsoft should've continued offering support for the operating system, allowing it to phase out on its own.

"I think it's a real downfall, Microsoft or any other company should support every product they manufacture right to the day everything goes to the junkyard," said Don Yusko, a Windows XP user who was shopping at Erie's Best Buy for a new computer.

Experts say the move is also a push by Microsoft to get more customers to take the plunge and adopt Windows 8, which comes with a learning curve.

"They come in here, they look at it, and they're really intimidated by the whole entire look, they're not used to it," said Lysander Mora, Microsoft sales rep at Erie's Best Buy. "But by the time they actually see what it's actually capable of doing and know where all the new things are at, they walk out loving it," Mora said.

But it's not just personal computers that need the upgrade, or the boot.

Many businesses and even ATM machines operate with Windows XP.

"It's definitely a risk, they're going to be seeing more security vulnerabilities and it's also going to be a significant cost to them. A lot of their applications don't work on anything above XP so it's a whole series of upgrades," Heacock said.

Northwest Savings Bank in the Erie area is one that runs XP on their ATM machines. They'll be making the transition over the next few months to Windows 7, the now standard OS for businesses.

The bank, along with certain other companies, will be getting continued support from Microsoft until they fully make the transition.


"Its best to bite the bullet sooner than later to get a new computer," Heacock said.



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