Windows XP has reached its end of life. That simply means Microsoft will no longer support it with updates or security patches to keep it up-to-date. That doesn’t mean it will suddenly stop working. If you’re still using Windows XP and want to take care of it yourself with the right applications, you can probably continue to use it for many more months, or even years. Eventually, however, you’ll either have to migrate to a newer version of Windows or another operating system. That’s because the companies that support the applications you use will probably stop supporting them for this version of Windows.
Upgrade from Windows XP to a Newer Version of Windows
Based on what I’ve read and from personal experience, upgrading to the latest version of Windows (Windows 8) has as much of a learning curve as switching to a completely different operating system. Windows 7, however, seems to be easy to learn. Its end of life is January 13, 2015 for support and January 14, 2020 for extended support.
If you choose Windows 8, and you don’t want to have to give up the things you like about Windows XP, you need to use an application to make things a bit more familiar to you. I’m using Classic Shell with Windows 8 on my laptop computer.
Switch to a different Operating System
You have choices to make and the most expensive choice would be to move to a Macintosh computer. The least expensive choice would be to move to almost any flavor of Linux. With certain exceptions, Linux is free.
Choosing Linux presents you with a whole new array of choices. You have to select the distribution and you have to select the display interface.
For distributions, you have the main distributions and then you have distributions based on those distributions. Sometimes there’s even a distribution based on a distribution based on a distribution. A perfect example is Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu, which is based on Debian.
For display interfaces, you have window managers with names like Gnome, KDE, Cinnamon, Mate, XFCE and more. And then you have multiple versions of some windows managers. Luckily, Gnome 2 and Gnome 3 seem to be the only ones to have issues with each other.
Most productivity software isn’t an issue when choosing a different operating system. It’s a subject best suited for another article, but most applications for Windows have an alternative for other operating systems, or even versions designed for them (Skype is one example).
My Personal Choice is Linux Mint XFCE
All of the Linux Mint options work for me, though I prefer Linux Mint XFCE. It’s lightweight and a heck of lot easier to use than Windows XP ever was.
In the past, I’ve used Ubuntu, with the Unity interface on a desktop PC. I’ve also used Linux Mint Cinnamon on an old laptop computer. When Windows XP needed to be reinstalled on the laptop, I decided not to endure the many updates to make it current, opting for Linux instead.
When I return to the Philippines and buy a new desktop PC, I’ll be using Linux Mint XFCE. I’ll be spending less than $300 USD for the computer (possibly less than $200). Whatever the price, the operating system shouldn’t cost more than computer (most desktop PCs are sold in the Philippines with Windows 7 Starter Edition on it these days).
You can choose whatever you like the best. If you want to take a test drive, I suggest using VirtualBox to install various operating systems as virtual machines within Windows XP before you make your choice.
[Image Attribution: By User:ZyMOS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]