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Many Windows XP users have not upgraded their operating systems yet. Many are unsure what OS to upgrade to. And they worry that their security applications will no longer work after the upgrade. Here we discuss what XP users can do to smoothly get on a new Windows OS and upgrade security software like antivirus and VPN apps.
Delaying the Windows OS Upgrade
Many XP users have never upgraded because they are comfortable with the system. XP is the longest supported OS because it is so popular. But Microsoft has extended support for this OS as long as it will go. Come April 8, all XP users will be cut off. This means that they will no longer get important updates and security patches. It will leave them very vulnerable to hacking.
Much of the problem with upgrading from Windows XP is that users are not sure what they need to upgrade to. Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 8.1, but not everyone has a system that can support it. Buying a new computer is not a viable option for many. Below you can find details on what is needed for upgrades to different Windows operating systems.
Most XP users are very aware of the security issues involved in staying with XP. One problem is dealing with security applications that don’t work on the new system. Users will have to reinstall security applications after upgrading their operating systems. But they will be pleased to find that most antivirus software and firewalls have compatible programs that can be easily upgraded to suit the new OS. As for VPN apps, the upgrades will depend on the specific providers of the VPN apps. The good news is that there are more options for VPN apps on upgraded operating systems.
Upgrading VPN Apps
You can select from a wider variety of VPN apps if you are open to switching providers. The pricing, server and protocol options for different operating systems will vary. If you are comfortable with your current provider, you will likely find the VPN apps you need for your choice of new OS. Be sure to check with your provider about costs, though, because most will not give you the new VPN apps for free. Users can also get better VPN apps on upgraded systems because they will run on the most secure protocol, OpenVPN. Again, not all providers offer OpenVPN for all operating systems.
To give you an idea, ExpressVPN has VPN apps for Windows XP, and also for Windows 7 and 8. And if you are more comfortable changing your OS completely, ExpressVPN has compatible VPN apps for Linux and Mac systems as well. There is no extra charge for new ExpressVPN apps. And the server and protocol options are the same for any operating system.
Windows 8.1 Upgrade
Microsoft recommends that XP users upgrade to Windows 8.1. Most computers can carry the OS. The requirements are 1024 x 768 display resolution, 1 GB of RAM, a 16 GB hard drive, and a 1 GHz processor. The most difficult parts are the display resolution and the hard drive. Many older computers will not have the required resolution. And if you don’t have much more than the required 16 GB on your hard drive, you won’t be able to run much more than just the OS on your computer. If you do meet the requirements, Windows 8.1 installation will cost about $120. Microsoft will also provide a backup service that will help with transferring files to the new system. Please note that there is a learning curve when going from XP to Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 has very different elements, especially the absence of the beloved Start menu. They are bringing back the Close Window button and some other features that will make 8.1 more similar to Windows 7.
Windows 7 Upgrade
Moving to Windows 7 will be much more comfortable for XP users. Windows 8.1 is faster and has better OS security features. And Microsoft also says that Windows 8.1 is more reliable. But according to users, there isn’t a whole lot of difference. And with Windows 7, most of the features and options can be easily located by XP users. So the transition will be much less stressful. It is not easy to find Windows 7 these days, though, because Microsoft is really trying to get everyone on Windows 8.1.
If you are getting a new computer, there are some that still offer Windows 7 systems. If you look on the websites of Lenovo, HP, Dell and Acer, you can find Windows 7 computers. If you are not getting a new computer, be warned that Microsoft no longer sells Windows 7 installation kits. You can find them at other stores, but these copies will not get you Microsoft support. This will become another security risk, however, since security updates will stop in 2020.
Moving to Linux
If you are thinking that you will have to learn a new system anyway, you might want to try Linux. Linux is open source, and many varieties are available for free. Varieties like Ubuntu or Linux Mint can be good options for new users. And they are compatible with older computers. Do some research first, though, because not all programs will run on a Linux OS.
The beauty of open source is that it is constantly monitored and improved by a large group of developers. These developers want to keep Linux clean from any malware that can be used to corrupt the system. There will be no backdoors on this operating system that secretly share your data with the government or third parties. The OS developments are also fast. Anyone can join in and make suggestions, and there is a lot of developer and community support for new users. Linux support is more like a friendly neighborhood study group than the dry corporate customer service of other operating systems.
Moving to Mac
You don’t have to stay with Windows. If you are thinking that you will have to buy a new computer anyway, you might want to try Mac. Mac is more pricey than Windows or Linux, but many OS X users say it is easier to use once you get used to it. It also has many features that you might find useful. If you have trouble with the system, you can sign up for free tutorials at the Apple Store.