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Let me put it bluntly. If you are a Windows XP user, the decision to upgrade is not in your hand anymore. Microsoft has announced that it would not provide support for Windows XP after April 8, 2014. After providing support for Windows XP for 12 years they have decided to retire Windows XP to concentrate on latest technology of both hardware and software so that you can get your job done faster, easier, and better. Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 8.1 is already in the market and the company is dedicated to support and improve this latest operating system. The hardware and software manufacturers are also building better and newer products to run under Windows 8.1.
Does it mean that Windows XP will stop working after April 8, 2014? No, it will work BUT it will no longer be safe to use it after that date. If you keep on using Windows XP after that date, your security will be jeopardized because no security updates will be available from Microsoft after date. Your personal information may be stolen, your machine may get infected with viruses and other malware, some programs may cease to work properly, newer drivers for some of your hardware may not work with Windows XP anymore. So you should upgrade and upgrade as soon as possible if you have not done that already, that is.
What about Windows Vista? Microsoft has not announced any end of life date for Vista yet. But my prediction is it will happen in foreseeable future. Why? Because unlike XP, Vista was never very popular. And since Windows 8.1 is a totally new kind of Windows with touchscreen capabilities and many other functionalities, the hardware and software manufacturers for PCs are building their products to work with Windows 8.1. So Vista will fall short soon. So my advice to Vista users is consider upgrading to Windows 8.1.
If you are using Windows 7, I think you are safe for some more time. Considering its huge popularity and the number of people using that operating system today, I don't think Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 7 anytime soon.
If it is of any consolation to you, I was using Windows XP myself for years. I never upgraded to Windows Vista or Windows 7 and I was getting by fine. Now that Microsoft has made their intentions about XP clear, I upgraded in a hurry. And I am happy that I did it!
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