Windows XP discontinued – How does this affect me?

RIP Windows XPAs of April 8th, 2014 Microsoft has officially discontinued support for Windows XP, Office 2003, and Windows Server 2003.  These products are all 10 years old which is the absolute maximum life support span for any operating system or piece of software by Microsoft.  5 years support from Microsoft and additional 5 years support for resellers, total 10 years.  We have just been spoiled because Windows XP was one of the best operating systems ever made.  Ofcourse Windows 7 is rocking it, but Microsoft quickly moved onto Windows 8 which is not very well liked.  Anyway…moving on…

What does this mean and how does it affect me?

No more support for XP, Office 2003 and Server 2003.  No security update patches will be available for your protection or patches to fix issues and compatibility problems.  If you can fix it yourself, you can keep it going, but Microsoft will not help and therefore no tech support company will likely want to waste their time trying to fix it either.
Obviously, if you’re still using one of these products, you know it didn’t stop working on April 8th.  It’s just that if something goes wrong, you’re on your own.  You need to basically get a new computer with a more recent version of Windows that is still supported.

It’s just personal use, do I care?

Security may not be a big of a concern for you if it’s not used for business, and maybe it is not as urgent to replace when it stops working.  With that said, you can probably keep using it as long as you can.  Just don’t expect to get any help from anyone if something goes wrong.  Use it until it dies and then replace it.
One important note is if you do any shopping online with a credit card or banking online, you need to urgently replace the computer.  Anti-virus alone is not enough.  Windows updates are critical to your security and that is what is discontinued.

I run a business, should I be concerned?

If you’re running a business you should have already gotten rid of all XP computers, Server 2003 and Office 2003.  If you have not done so by now, you will seriously be at risk of viruses, hackers, or a system crash.  Your private and confidential client data is all at risk which I’m sure you’re clients will not want to hear about.
Not to mention, if something goes wrong, you will have zero time to deal with a replacement computer and with no support, no tech company will be willing to help and Microsoft will just laugh at you.  So you will be stuck with having to spend more time in a last minute panic to find a replacement computer, install all necessary software, transfer data, customize, etc.  Replace your computers while they are still working and you can actually plan for it.