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For Windows XP, the end is nigh

Users running the XP operating system can upgrade to the clumsy Windows 8 or the superior Windows 7.
Users running the XP operating system can upgrade to the clumsy Windows 8 or the superior Windows 7.LUCAS JACKSON /reuters/ file 2012

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I drive a 12-year-old Ford, and why not? It’s quiet and comfy, and it gets me there.

Lots of people feel the same way about software. Almost 30 percent of the world’s desktop computers run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows XP, an operating system introduced in 2001. About 40 percent of the PCs at the Globe still run XP, and so do 95 percent of the world’s automatic teller machines, according to ATM maker NCR Corp.

But XP’s hour has finally come. On April 8, Microsoft will stop all technical support for the software. There won’t be any more updates or security patches. Despite the presence of a countdown clock on Microsoft’s website, XP won’t turn to a pumpkin at midnight. Keep using it--if you dare. But when it comes to protecting sensitive data from online thieves, you’ll be on your own.

Well, almost. Microsoft will continue to update the XP version of its free Security Essentials program until April 2015. Other security software makers will do the same. But anti-malware programs generally filter out attacks only after some users have already been victimized.

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