Previously, we reported that Microsoft is stopping or has stopped support for various Operating Systems, as shown below:

  •  Support for Windows Vista without any service packs ended on April 13, 2010.
  •  Support for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) ended on July 13, 2010.
  •  Support for Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1) ended on July 12, 2011.
  •  Support for Windows XP is ending on April 8, 2014.
  •  Support for Microsoft Office 2003 is ending on April 8, 2014.

What this means is if you do not upgrade to at least Windows 7 by the date shown above you will no longer get operating system updates for Windows, which means you also won’t get the security updates for those systems.

Even if you have an unsupported version of Windows XP or Windows Vista without any service packs, your Windows operating system might continue to start and run as usual.

While Microsoft will tell you about operating systems that will no longer be updated, it doesn’t mention what could happen with your computer.

You might run into problems with other programs on your computer. If you upgrade those other programs, or simply update them, they might stop working on your older operating system.

We did some research and found that hackers and spammers have found a way to “insert” their little infections by targeting computers with older operating systems. They can insert infections on your computer without you knowing about it. They can also use your computer to send out spam email or send out the same or more infections to other computers.

It can also cause you to lose files, or allow the hackers to obtain your personal information. You could also give up all of your contact information as well, which in turn gives them more computers to infect.

You might think that having an antivirus program will keep them from doing this and in most cases you might be right. However, you have to remember that there are hundreds of new malware, spyware, trojans, etc., that are showing up on a daily basis, and the protection software is only good for those things it already knows about, not what is coming out in the future.

We know because we just ran into that problem ourselves and had a time of it trying to get things right again. (It only took 3 days of cleaning files and backups and we have Windows 7 with plenty of computer protection software running. It could have been worse.)

Since we know the trend is most people do not run antivirus programs on a daily basis, this leaves you vulnerable the other 6 days. Keep in mind, the hackers know this. The trend is also that most do not run backups of their computer – but that is a different post.

So, while it may be a pain and inconvenient to have to upgrade your operating system, it can stop you from having all kinds of expensive problems in the future, especially if you run a home business.