The clock is ticking for Windows XP and Office 2003 users

Microsoft has begun the countdown to ending support for these old versions of Windows and Office

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Exactly one year from now, Microsoft will kill support for Windows XP and Office 2003. That means increased security risks, possible increased downtime, and more incompatibility issues for the millions of users who don't upgrade by then to Windows 7 or 8 or a newer version of Microsoft Office. Unfortunately, one in seven XP users don't know this is happening.

What's shocking is that the one-in-seven users who are unaware of XP's impending death comes from a survey of IT professionals: technology officers and IT directors at organizations running more than 2,000 PCs, according to The Register. Imagine the number of home users who don't know the end is near.

Companies and organizations are typically slow to migrate to newer operating systems and software suites, because of the costs and headaches involved. For both business users and consumers, though, using products like these beyond their end-of-life date makes them more vulnerable to all sorts of problems, in a particular viruses and spyware targeting the decade-old operating system, Microsoft warns.

Many people have probably stuck with XP because of all the negative press Vista received. Windows 7 was a vast improvement, but by then XP users were like, "eh, this works. Why change?" Now that Windows 8 is here (and getting the same kind of flak as Vista did), difficulty deciding between Windows 7 or Windows 8 is also making upgrading harder.

You're probably not using Windows XP if you're reading this blog post, but if you know someone who is, send them a friendly little hint that it's time to decide between Windows 7 and Windows 8 (and there are reasons why Windows 8 is a worthy upgrade).

Read more of Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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