If you are running Windows XP on your computer, you have a few choices about whether you should upgrade to a new operating system. Here are a few choices to consider:
1. Stick with XP. After all, it’s what you’re used to. Many people still have Windows 98 on their computer and will probably never upgrade. You might be considered stuck in your ways and missing out after a while, but it will be several years before XP is considered obsolete. Microsoft will continue to support XP until April of 2014, so it’s not impractical to keep XP until then. Even after Microsoft no longer supports XP, you can still use it. Web applications and new programs may not be compatible with your computer and your computer will eventually perform significantly slower than newer ones, but if you are comfortable with what you have and don’t use it much, you might not have any problems. If you do, you can always upgrade then.
XP currently holds over half of the market share of all operating systems (including Mac and Linux) combined. As you can imagine, no one’s going to try to get rid of XP quickly, so you should have to rush either. Keep in mind though, that it might be helpful to at least learn about Windows 7 and how to use the new layout and features. You might learn that it’s not so bad and decide to upgrade. Even if you don’t, other people and businesses, like libraries or your workplace will start using Windows 7, so you don’t want to be clueless when using those computers.
2. Upgrade to Vista. If you think it would be better to upgrade one version at a time, it might sound reasonable, but it might not be worth it. Although buying a Vista operating system is less expensive than Windows 7, you will end up spending more when you eventually upgrade to Windows 7. Vista and 7 are almost identical, except 7 has improved Vista in many ways. So why switch to a new, but faulty operating system when a better one is available. If your goal is to save some money, just wait a year or so to buy Windows 7, and most likely the price will have reduced some. XP is still supported by Microsoft for three more years, so you have time.
3. Upgrade to Windows 7. This is what Microsoft would of course prefer for you to do. They even offer an “XP mode” that will allow you to run older programs that were designed to work with XP. This way you don’t have to miss out on everything you used before. On the other hand, switching to Windows 7 also means your computer will be compatible to all the newest, coolest gadgets and applications that are currently available. Once you make the switch and get accustomed to the new layout and features, you rarely miss the old versions.
Keep in mind that many computer technicians warn against immediately upgrading to the newest version of anything from Microsoft right away, like the operating systems or Internet Explorer. Many times, hackers create viruses and bugs to attack Microsoft systems, because far more people use Microsoft than any other operating system. This means that Microsoft products tend to have more security vulnerabilities. Also, Microsoft often has bugs and kinks to work out of a newly released product, so many techs will recommend waiting a year after the initial release date until you use the newest version of Microsoft products.
4. Switch to a different company. You may not have realized this, or not given it much thought, but there are many operating systems other than Windows. Although a very small number of computer users use anything but Windows, Macintosh (Apple) being the next largest user group, it’s certainly a possibility. Keep in mind, though, that some applications and websites are not compatible with operating systems other than Windows, although marked improvements have been made recently to change this.