Starting this week, millions of Americans may be become more vulnerable than ever to hackers because of what is happening with Windows XP.
Some are calling it "Doomsday for XP."
Support Ends in April
Windows XP was Microsoft's most popular operating system ever, so popular that 29% of PC users are still working with it, according to Information Week magazine.
But as of April 8, 2014, Microsoft officially stops support of its XP program, which has been replaced by both Windows Vista, Windows 7, and most recently, Windows 8.
One bit of good news for procrastinators: in the wake of the Target security breach and other recent cyber attacks, Microsoft has announced it will continue to issue some XP security updates for another year, until July 2015.
So it's a bit of a reprieve, if you are still on XP, but many security experts say it's not enough.
Doesn't That Stink?
So from the "doesn't that stink" file, the risk you take using Windows XP as of this week.
Information Week says once an operating system is no longer supported, minor security updates are just a token measure, and may not be enough to protect you after April.
If a scammer or virus gets in, and takes over your PC or steals your personal information, you'll say "doesn't that stink?"
Experts say to be safe, do not use XP for banking, taxes, or anything sensitive after this April.
The Bottom Line
Bottom line: If you are still using XP, see if your PC can handle an upgrade to Windows 7.
And if your computer appears to be on its last legs, consider buying a new one soon, so you stay safe.
Microsoft and Best Buy are both offering $100 credit to anyone trading in an old XP computer.
And while it may be costlier up front, in the long run you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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