Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows XP. Your Windows XP PC is not going to just stop working however without Microsoft XP support you PC will become more and more vulnerable to malware, viruses, spyware and other not so good things.
Many PCs that are running Windows XP can not run Windows 8 or 8.1. Does this mean you need to just shelf your old PC and have to go out and purchase a new computer? Not necessarily – a lot of older PCs running Windows XP will not run Windows 8 or 8.1 that is true however quite a few will run Windows 7. There are a couple of problems with Windows 7 – the consumer version is no longer available, you can no longer just go to a place that sells software and get a copy of Windows 7. Even the big computer and technology stores no longer carry the consumer version of Windows 7 – all they have is Windows 8 or 8.1. There are a few places where you can still get Windows 7 “system builder” – which is the OEM version in both 64 bit and 32 bit versions.
There are programs you can run to see if your older PC can run Windows 8 (many cannot) and more difficult to find there are programs which can tell you if your PC will run Windows 7 and if your computer can run the 64 bit version or only the 32 bit version. These programs also will tell you if your applications software will still work.
A big problem with moving away from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8 is you will need to do a clean install. That means wiping out everything and installing the new operating system and then reinstalling your old programs and applications. There is no such thing as a Windows 7 or 8 upgrade where you install the newer operating systems and your programs are still there and still work.
Not all programs and applications that ran on XP will run on Windows 7 or 8. Something to know is with Windows 7 Pro and only Windows 7 Pro there is the ability to run run older applications in a virtual Windows XP mode. I was able to get Quick Books Pro 2006 to run in XP virtual mode on a PC that is now running Windows 7 Pro.
I have a more detailed article on one of my other sites about this – Windows XP not supported