Windows XP has officially been marooned. As of April 8, Microsoft (MSFT) officially ended Windows XP support, leaving a lot of question marks behind for users of its venerable operating system.
Despite being 13 years old (with three major OS versions –Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8) released since, Windows XP remains the second most popular PC operating system in the world. Somewhere around half a billion computers are running the ancient OS.
But even with the last Windows XP update installed, they are now vulnerable to the malware and viruses that cyber criminals are preparing to unleash.
Apple (AAPL) Mac users have always been somewhat smug about their platform’s relative safety from these security issues, but if those 500 million computers get hit en masse with malware as has been predicted, Microsoft could find itself facing a public backlash over ending Windows XP support.
Regardless, the company drew a line in the sand and we are now over that line. If there’s a PC running Windows XP in your home or office, it’s time to take immediate measures to protect it and your data.