Life after Windows XP

Do you remember the Y2K hype? No major catastrophes occurred when the world welcomed Jan. 1, 2000. Similarly, barring logical explanations such as coincidental computer parts failing due to age, the upcoming retirement of Windows XP by Microsoft will not lead to unexplained computer combustion.

However using Windows XP after April 8, 2014, increases the risk of becoming a victim of illicit activities rooted in the digital world such as identity theft or contracting a computer virus that leads to loss of your digital pictures or even ransom payment demands in exchange for regaining control of your computer. So what options do you have if you still use Windows XP?

Regardless of any options you choose for life after Windows XP, I highly recommend that you backup your data first! Having a copy of your data, i.e. your digital memories such as documents and pictures, on an external hard disk should make it easier to transfer your data to the new system; it will also act as an insurance when hard drives fail and make it impossible to retrieve your data. Computers can be replaced, but your data, without backups, can not be recreated. Backing up costs a fraction of what a data recovery service may cost you!

Option 1: Buy a new computer that comes with Windows 8. Although there has been a lot of negative press concerning Windows 8’s usability through the mouse, free software is available which will make it similar in operation to earlier Windows versions. Or to get the fully immersive Windows 8 experience, you can get a Windows 8 computer with a touch screen.

Option 2: Buy a new Apple computer. The experience of using an Apple computer will be different from Windows. Rather than trying to explain this difference you may want to visit the Apple Store at Crocker Park where you can play around with their computer offerings. In most cases device-agnostic data such as pictures and videos should transfer with relative ease. Documents will be case-by-case. For example Microsoft does sell Office (Word, Excel, etc.) for Apple computers that makes it seamless if you currently use Office on Windows XP.

Option 3: If you are running Windows XP on a newer computer and you want to keep using the same computer, you can download Microsoft’s “Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant” available from their website to assess the feasibility of reusing your computer hardware.

Option 4: Depending on your “use case,” i.e. how you utilize your computer currently, you may be a candidate to replace your computer with a tablet. You can learn about the utility of a tablet at the “The Digital World” column link on the Observer website at wbvobserver.com.

Finally remember to create a “holistic” budget as your old software and even accessories such as your printer, may need to be replaced as well!

Next issue’s topic: "Sidekick for the Super Mom"

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Questions about The Digital World

I swear my mouse in my laptop is possessed! I have too many typos and it moves by its own! Can I exorcise the mouse?
I think you are referring to the “trackpad” that is located below the space bar on the laptop’s keyboard, which functions as a mouse. Instead of mimicking the decades-old functionalities of a left-click or right-click of a mouse, trackpads can understand what is known as “touch screen gestures” where the user uses multiple fingers on the trackpad to issue commands to the computer. To possibly alleviate unintended movements resulting from tapping and/or gesturing, go into your configuration area of your computer – in Windows it’s called “Control Panel” and for OSX it’s under “System Preferences” – to turn these features off; not all systems allow you this option so it is trial-and-error. This is one of the first things I did when I got my laptop a couple years ago!

Have a question for Tak about computers, software or other technology? Send them to editor@wbvobserver.com.

Tak Sato

Business and technology strategist/consultant with 20+ years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and MBA from Cleveland State University.

As founder of geek with a heart, "Hand-holding You in the Digital World", Tak helps Individuals, Seniors, Families, Small Businesses, and Non-Profits utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

Read More on The Digital World
Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 9:56 AM, 03.04.2014