Windows XP support has ended

Why is this happening?

Windows XP is 12 years old—that’s pretty old for an operating system.

In the past 12 years you’ve probably gotten a new phone, maybe a new TV, and possibly even a new car. Maybe it’s time for a new PC too, so you can make sure you have more memory and storage, faster processing speeds, and a higher-quality display (some even come with touch). And they’re less expensive than you might think.

We support our older operating systems much longer than most other businesses in this industry, but we can’t keep supporting old operating systems and still move forward creating new and better products. We’ve been supporting Windows XP for the past 12 years—that's longer than we've supported any other operating system in our history and already two years longer than the standard ten years of support we normally provide. It’s time for us to look ahead so we can create better products and services for you and all our customers.

What are my options?

We encourage you to learn more here about what end of support means, but in the end you have two options:

Option 1: Keep using Windows XP—unprotected

While it's true that you can keep using your PC with Windows XP after support ends, we don’t recommend it. For starters, it’ll become five times more vulnerable to security risks and viruses, which means you could get hacked and have your personal information stolen. Also, companies that make devices like digital cameras, Internet-ready TVs, and printers won’t provide drivers that work with Windows XP, so if you get new devices, they won’t work with your current PC. And over time, the security and performance of your PC will just continue to degrade so things will only get worse.

Windows Internet Explorer 8 is also no longer supported, so if you use it (or any other browser) to surf the web, you might be exposing your PC to additional threats. Microsoft has also stopped providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP. To find out what this means, see "Will I still be protected if I use Microsoft Security Essentials?" later on this page.

Option 2: Start using Windows 8.1

If you don’t like the idea of your data and personal information being hacked, or your PC's just not working like it used to, consider moving to Windows 8.1.

First, see if you can upgrade your current PC

PCs that are still running Windows XP have been around for many years, but there’s still a slim chance some of them might meet the system requirements for Windows 8.1. To find out, try the Upgrade Advisor—it’s free, and it’ll tell you if you can run Windows 8.1 on your current PC.

If your PC is good to go, you can review and print the Upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Windows Vista or Windows XP tutorial. It’ll walk you through all of the steps.

If you can’t upgrade, it might be time to consider a new PC

You'll be amazed at what a computer can do today.

The latest PCs are less expensive than you might think

A selection of PCs running Windows 8.1

These days, PCs for Windows are a lot less expensive (and a lot more powerful) than they used to be. In fact, new Windows 8.1 PCs are 37% less expensive than computers running Windows XP were in 2002. *

Find your perfect PC

* IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker report, Q4 2013

We know you have questions…here are some answers

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Will I still be protected if I use Microsoft Security Essentials?

No, you will not be protected. Microsoft Security Essentials is no longer available for download on Windows XP, for starters, but even if you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you still won't be protected—even though you'll continue to receive antimalware signature updates for a limited time. This is because Microsoft Security Essentials (or any other third-party antivirus software for that matter) will have limited effectiveness on PCs that do not have the latest security updates. What does this mean for you? That your PC running Windows XP will not be secure and will still be at risk for infection.

Is Windows 8.1 hard to learn?

There’s a lot about Windows 8.1 that’ll feel familiar if you’ve been using Windows XP, but like anything new, you’ll need to take some time to get up to speed. To help you out, there’s a Windows 8.1 tutorial that has all of the basic info you need to get started. Once you understand the basics, you’ll be able to get around with ease. There’s also a Help+tips app that comes with Windows 8.1, plus a lot of specific support topics here on Windows.com in case you get stuck on something. You can also get help in person at Microsoft retail stores (where you can also take free classes), in the Answers forums, or by calling our Support team.

Is Windows 8.1 only for PCs with touch?

Windows 8.1 works great whether you use touch or use a mouse and keyboard—or both. Windows 8.1 detects what you’re using to type, click, tap, and scroll, so the interactions are optimized for the way you naturally work. Get more info in the Windows 8.1 tutorial: Getting around your PC. Windows 8.1 also brings you many of the familiar things you love from Windows XP: the desktop, the taskbar, the Start button, and even keyboard shortcuts all work the way you're used to.

How do I transfer all of my stuff to a new Windows 8.1 PC?

You have a few options when it comes to moving your files. One option is to move them to an external hard drive, and then move them onto your new PC. Another option is to use the LapLink Express tool—it’s available for free if you decide to buy a new PC. With LapLink Express, all you need is your PC running Windows XP, your new Windows 8.1 PC, and an Internet connection. Learn more and get LapLink—it’s free.

Will my favorite programs and games still work?

Most programs and games that work on Windows XP will work on Windows 8.1, though you might need to install updated versions of your programs and games to match the processor of your new Windows 8.1 PC. For example, if your PC running Windows XP has a 32-bit processor, and your new Windows 8.1 PC has a 64-bit processor, you’ll need to install the 64-bit version of your program or game on your new PC.

You can look up specific titles in the Compatibility Center if you want to make sure they’ll work.

If you decide to get Windows 8.1, the Program Compatibility Assistant will let you know if there’s a problem with one of your favorite programs or games. Learn more about the Program Compatibility Assistant.

And keep in mind that in some cases, you might not need to reinstall all your old software because many computer manufacturers include great software that comes preinstalled on their latest PC offerings.

Wondering about Windows 8.1?

If you’re feeling hesitant about Windows 8.1, we encourage you to walk through some of the information and videos in the Getting started tutorial so you can see what it’s like. Or, pop in to a Microsoft Store and try it out in person before making a decision. Find the Microsoft store nearest you.

Popular tutorials

The account page, where you can change account settings
Sign in with a Microsoft account and you’re automatically signed in to your favorite sites and services.
The familiar desktop
The desktop is still here, so you can be productive. And when it’s time for fun, your apps and games are there, too.
Using touch to get around your PC
Learn the essentials about navigating your PC, whether you have touch or use a mouse and keyboard.
Get apps in the Windows Store
Search or browse the Windows Store for the apps you want. Also find out how to use and close apps.

Need more help? Give us a call!

If you want person-to-person assistance, call Microsoft Customer Support at 1-877-696-7786. Our support team can answer questions about Windows XP support ending, or help you find a new PC.

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