Now that Microsoft has put the kibosh on support for Windows XP, I'm advising people to ditch their old desktops or laptop computers that run this antiquated operating system.
After 12 years, Microsoft support for Windows XP officially ended on April 8. That means Microsoft is no longer providing security patches for the OS, which, over time, will likely leave you more open to security threats as you continue using it. More info is available at Mashable.com.
So whether you want to or not, now is probably a good time to get a new machine! I have a buying guide to help you shopping for computers.
Anybody still using XP is probably too cheap to buy a Mac for around $799, but if you want a new Windows laptop, there are ways to get a deal. Every week, you can routinely find prices from $199 to $249. Check MicroCenter.com and DealNews.com for those kinds of prices.
KNOW YOUR PRICE POINTS
When you look toward buying a new computer, there are several ways you can go.
With both Mac and PC, you can buy ultralights like the Mac Book Air, which is an exceptional device, or an Ultrabook that runs on Windows 8. The Ultrabooks street price out at $400 and change. MacBook Airs are $700+ on the low end.
If you're just looking for a basic, functional laptop, I use a laptop with a 15.6 inch screen that I bought for $229. I don't even remember the brand, just the price! I use it at my treadmill desk.
For premium laptops to be used a desktop replacement, the prices you'll pay for a PC are around $600 with a 17.3 inch screen. If you do video and audio editing or photography work, this is the price range you should expect to look at.
If you want to stay in the Apple orbit, you can get a machine that will do everything you need for about $1,000. But you'll pay a lot more for the software.
CAN'T AFFORD A NEW COMPUTER?
I recognize that not everyone may be fiscally ready to buy a new computer. So here's my advice to protect yourself if you're going to continue to use your Windows XP machine for the time being:
- Do only the most benign surfing on your unsupported XP machine, like reading news articles from legitimate sources. Don't sign into social, email, or any financial accounts -- you're at big risk because without any Microsoft support, it's open season for hackers.
- Use an antivirus program and keep it up to date. I have a list of free programs in my Virus, Spyware and Malware Protection Guide.
- Dedicate a non-Windows XP machine for financial transactions. No surfing the web on your dedicated computer. No e-mailing. And definitely no visiting Facebook or Twitter, as social media is one of the main entry points for hackers today.
This is something you don't want to mess with. Don't push your luck with an old Windows XP machine. Find a deal on a new computer and snatch it up!
For further reading: