Replacing Windows XP

Despite the frequent introduction by Microsoft of newer versions of its Windows operating system over the years, some business and home PC users are still using Windows XP, which was replaced back in 2007. However, Microsoft ceased support for XP in 2014 and therefore no longer issues updates, security patches, bug fixes and Microsoft Security Essentials for the operating system.

The risks

  • As no security updates are issued, your PC running Windows XP is now highly vulnerable to infection by malware, with criminals being well aware of the vulnerability.
  • Such malware could be used by criminals for a number of purposes, including:
    • To steal your personal and financial details in order to commit fraud
    • To infect your computer with ransomware
    • To commit identity theft in order to apply for bank accounts, passports and other facilities in your name.
    • To monitor your email and other communications.
    • To make your PC part of a botnet, commonly used to attack corporate or government websites.
  • You can probably not easily get your XP PC serviced or repaired.
  • An increasing number of devices and software programs will not work with Windows XP.

 Additional risks for businesses

  • In addition to the above, you risk unauthorised entry to your information systems, leading to your data being accessed or stolen, non-compliance with insurers’ and/or customers’ standards and breaching the Data Protection Act and forthcoming GDPR.
  • Hardly any independent hardware and software support vendors who provide services for Windows XP systems.

Before you do any of the following, it is very important that you back up the data on your PC and ensure that it can be accessed and recovered on another machine.

 Update your computer

  • The first, obvious resolution is to install Windows 10. However, many older computers will be able to run Windows 10 owing to its far more demanding hardware requirements. Microsoft recommends that you download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant to check if your PC meets the system requirements:

If your PC is unable to run the newer versions of Windows, you will need to buy a new one. Today’s PCs are considerably more powerful, lighter in weight and less expensive than their forbears.

  • If you want to keep your old PC and not upgrade, there are other options such as ‘dual booting’ with one of the many versions of the Linux operating system. This would enable you to carry out all online tasks from Linux, and offline tasks like word processing, spreadsheets and photo editing in Windows. This solution does take some time and effort to install, but there are a large number of websites offering advice and guidance.
  • You could also consider changing to a new computer running on a different platform, the one most frequently chosen being the Apple Mac, or some of the new generation of netbooks such as those using Google’s Chrome, or Microsoft’s own netbook models.
  • It is worth considering whether you still actually need a desktop or laptop PC when many of the functions you may use it for can be carried out on a tablet, of which there are a wide range of makes and specifications to choose from, ranging from sub-£50 models to those costing many hundreds of pounds.

Businesses & enterprises

Businesses and enterprises still running Windows XP should urgently adopt a strategy for migration to another platform, which will almost certainly involve considerable investment in new hardware, infrastructure and applications.

Small to medium sized businesses: There are many options for small and medium businesses considering moving to a modern PC with the latest productivity and collaboration tools. You should talk to a Microsoft Certified Partner to understand the best options to meet your needs. If your current PC meets the system requirements for Windows 10, you can buy Windows 10 Professional from a local retailer or Microsoft Certified Partner. If your PC does not meet system requirements, consider purchasing a new business PC with Windows 10 Pro.

Larger businesses & enterprises: Microsoft offers large organisations in-depth technical resources, tools, and expert guidance to ease the deployment and management of Windows, Office and Internet Explorer products and technologies. To learn more about migration and deployment programs, pcontact your Microsoft sales representative or Certified Microsoft Partner. You can also learn how to pilot and deploy a modern desktop yourself, from the free Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.


In partnership with

Jargon Buster

A Glossary of terms used in this article:

Identity theft

The crime of impersonating someone – by using their private information – for financial gain.


An open-source, freely-available operating system.