Microsoft stopped support of the Windows XP operating system on Tuesday.
Windows XP still runs on approximately a quarter of a million PCs in New Zealand and Microsoft is urging the remaining New Zealand consumers still running the 12-year old software to upgrade their system immediately to avoid increased exposure to cyber-attacks.
According to Frazer Scott, Director of Marketing and Operations at Microsoft New Zealand, those customers still running Windows XP need to act now.
"While PCs running Windows XP will continue to work, no more security updates or technical support means that consumers and companies still running XP are now vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage valuable information."
Microsoft has developed a website for users unsure of what version of Windows they are using. amirunningxp.com can automatically tell if a PC runs Windows XP or a newer version of Windows like Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1. If the site detects Windows XP, it provides guidance on how to upgrade.
Microsoft has also developed a free data migration tool which helps people to copy files, music, videos, email and user profiles and settings from an old PC to a new device, allowing Windows XP users to easily customize exactly what they want to bring over to a new device.
See the free data transfer tool here: www.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/xp/transfer-your-data.aspx
"The adverse consequences of malware infections can range from the annoying, to potentially catastrophic, so those still running the old operating system really need to act immediately," Scott said.
"Windows XP was a great operating system for its time, but it was not designed to handle the modern-day challenges of increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks, or support functionality we now see as standard such as ubiquitous internet access, the use of tablet PCs and touch screens.
"Retiring a product is a normal part of the product lifecycle. Windows XP was released in October 2001, and while most Microsoft software is supported for 10 years, Windows XP has been supported for more than 12 years, longer than any other Windows version."
For more details on Windows XP end of support and information on how to upgrade check our articles.