Not sure about the hype around the end of support for Microsoft XP?
Turns out, it may be time to actually follow through on that “spring cleaning” routine you’d rather avoid.
To make it easier, we huddled with one of our favorite computer pros, Geek Squad Agent Derek Meister, to find out what you really need to know about the so-called “XP Apocalypse.” Also, keep geeksquad.com/xpsupport handy and you’ll be all set.
So Microsoft will stop supporting XP starting April 8. What does that mean exactly?
Your computer won’t explode on April 8 like that circa-1960’s tape recorder on Mission Impossible. But if you’ve ever allowed an update to install on your PC, you know that software makers like Microsoft often send out updates and patches to fix both performance issues and security concerns with their software. On April 8, 2014, after 12 years (and three replacement versions of Windows) Microsoft will no longer provide these free updates or technical support for Windows XP.
How can I find out if I’m running XP?
Windows XP users who are set up for automatic updates will be receiving an automatic alert informing them that their version will not be supported after April 8. In the meantime, click here to detect what version of Windows you are running. Or, click on your Start button, then click “Run” on the right-hand column, and type “winver” without the quotation marks. Hit Enter on your keyboard, and you should see a box describing the operating system.
Will the programs I use, like Microsoft Office, change too?
The software currently on your Windows XP computer will still be installed and functional. But some software will no longer provide updates for Windows XP computers. Newer software may not support installation onto the Windows XP operating system.
I’m busy. What’ll happen if I ignore this?
I did mention that your computer won’t immediately explode on April 8, right? You won’t notice a sudden change for most uses of your Windows XP computer. Without updates from Microsoft, though, new viruses can attack, you won’t have patches to fix compatibility issues with other software you’re using and you’ll see less support (or no support) from some software makers for your version of Windows.
You’ve convinced me. Can I upgrade just my operating system or will I have to buy a new computer?
Upgrading to a newer version of Windows will depend on the age of your existing system and the capability of the built-in hardware. Microsoft provides a tool that will help you decide. Download and run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant to scan your PC and tell you if it’s capable for upgrading.
What if I need a new computer? Help me feel good about it.
We all know technology is always improving. For most XP users, the cost of a new computer will be cheaper than installing hardware upgrades. Plus, there are a ton of really cool devices out now that weren’t around when you got your XP – like 2-in-1 Windows PCs, Chromebooks, and new Apple computers. All of these will have faster, more capable hardware, ready to meet your needs. Sure, you can upgrade that Model T with a modern-day engine, but it’s still not going to be the most pleasant morning commute.
Tablets are cool. Is this a good time to think about getting one and ditching my computer?
Tablets are cool. They tend to be light, portable, have long battery life and can do 90 percent of what your laptop can. Tablets can surf the web, read email, play movies, run thousands of apps and play casual games. Consider, though, whether your daily needs require that last 10 percent. If you’re often into more intense content creation, office productivity and high-end gaming, you may want to check out the hybrid tablets and ultra-books available at Best Buy (and while you’re there, talk to a Geek Squad Agent or Blue Shirt to match your personal tech needs with a tablet or laptop option).
What can I do with my old computer if I decide to replace it?
If you’re not interested in transforming it into an aquarium or footstool, we can help. Starting on April 6, you can trade in your Windows XP device and get at least $100 towards a new computer. (You’ll get a $25 gift card with your XP trade-in, and a coupon for $75 off a Chromebook, Apple computer or Windows PC). Plus, our Geek Squad Agents can help get your data off the old computer and onto your new device, and our Blue Shirts will make sure your old hardware is recycled safely.
How can I transfer my data from my old to new device?
At the risk of making a shameless plug, really, the easiest way to transfer documents, photos, music and other data to your new device will be with Geek Squad data transfer services. We help ensure that your old data is safe on your new machine, and make your new Windows setup feel like home. During the XP transition period, we’re offering Data Back-up and Transfer, Geek Squad Protection, and Tech Support services at special savings to help you avoid some of the hassles of switching to new gear.
Where can I can find more information and advice?
Geek Squad is always standing by to help you with all of your technology needs at your local Best Buy, at GeekSquad.com or at 1-800-GEEK SQUAD.
P.S. There are three rules for computer happiness:
1. Backup 2. Backup 3. Backup. And 3a: Test Your Backup.