Windows XP has been one of Microsoft’s most popular and enduring operating systems. Tech Radar estimates that over 500 million copies of the system were sold worldwide, making WIN XP the system of choice for both consumers and businesses alike. Windows XP offered many groundbreaking advances in technology and functionality:
- First Windows OS offered in both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures
- First Windows version not based on MS DOS
- Improved user interface
- Enhanced support for hardware devices and multimedia
- Stability improvements over prior Windows versions
Microsoft was hard at work developing Windows XP as early as the late 1990s, and began producing the OS for manufacturing in August 2001, with general availability reaching markets the following October.
Even today, nearly 2% of computers are running Windows XP, including a 34% share of computers that run Windows, in some countries.
However as technology advanced, Microsoft continued to build new functionality and performance features into each subsequent version of Windows, with Windows 10 being the most current and advanced version of the operating system ever released. As most software companies do, Microsoft then focused on upgrades to their new offering, and discontinued enhancements to the Windows XP OS.
Extended support for WIN XP was dropped in April 2014. To users of XP, this meant that no additional support or security updates would be forthcoming. This is significant to all computer users concerned with vulnerability to hackers, cybercriminals, unauthorized access, or phishing schemes.
Microsoft released the next significant OS version – Windows 7 in October 2009 to general availability (without mention here of the less popular Windows Vista). Although Windows 7 is today used on over 40% of Windows-based computers, it too has been discontinued for general support as of January 2015, with extended support dropping in January 2020. This means no technical support from Microsoft, no OS upgrades, and no security fixes or updates.
What does that mean for Windows XP users?
If you’re still using Windows XP, it’s time to upgrade.
Why Do Need to Upgrade from Windows XP?
Reasons to upgrade your Windows OS from XP greatly outnumber the reasons to continue running the aging system.
Reasons Not to Upgrade
You may feel intimidated by the very thought of upgrading your computer with a new operating system.
- You don’t know how to migrate to a new operating system
- It’s confusing to determine which system to upgrade to – Windows 7, or Windows 10
- You’re not sure your peripheral devices or programs will work properly with a new OS
Those may be realistic considerations, so consider the advantages and reasons you should upgrade.
Reasons You Should Upgrade from Windows XP
Now let’s discuss the many reasons it makes sense to upgrade to Windows 10.
- Support: If you encounter problems with WIN XP or your computer running that OS, Microsoft will certainly not offer assistance. Most computer shops and technical support personnel have also moved on from supporting Windows XP systems, as well. Instead, they will offer you assistance in upgrading to a supported platform. Microsoft also continues to add functions and bug fixes to Windows 10, providing you with a solid upgrade path.
- Security: You can hardly watch a newscast or read a newspaper today without hearing of cyberattacks, computer viruses, and malware attacking computers or servers connected to networks or the internet. Anti-virus programs and malware detection are essential to safe use of your computer, even moreso if you do online shopping or internet banking. Windows XP, with no security updates, is now an extremely vulnerable operating system.
- Speed: Windows 10 is the best-performing Windows system offered to date. Memory management and stability have made significant advances over prior Windows systems.
- Program availability: If you want to upgrade your application programs such as business functions, or even Microsoft Office functions such as Excel or Word, you’re out of luck with Windows XP. There simply is no path available to utilize many new programs on XP computers. Even Google no longer provides support for WIN XP with their popular Chrome browser .
- Technology advancements: Want to add a new graphics card or new wireless printer to your system? Maybe you want to use the latest SSD storage device or external drive for backing up your files. Good luck if you’re still using Windows XP. Many new devices are not supported by the OS.
Your message here – it’s time to upgrade.
One Easy Way to Upgrade
If you’re still using Windows XP, the chances are your computer itself is outdated, and quite possibly no longer provides the speed you would like for your gaming experience, document processing, internet use, and social media activities.
One of the simplest ways to upgrade to Windows 10 is to purchase a new computer, with the operating system already installed.
Most computer dealers will offer assistance in migrating your personal files to the new computer (although typically at a cost), and the internet is loaded with documentation that helps you with that process, if you feel comfortable approaching the task yourself.
Using this method will give you the best of both worlds – a shiny new computer using the latest technology, loaded with high-performing, supported software. Take note of an additional step you should take below to finalize your upgrade, even with a pre-loaded operating system.
How to Upgrade from Windows XP
Note: as a computer user, you’re familiar with the importance of backing up your personal files, photos, etc. Be certain you have a verified backup of your own data, either to an external drive, or even a cloud storage service. Also, be sure to have installation media available for reinstalling your programs when your Windows 10 installation is complete.
If you’re going to upgrade your existing computer to Windows 10, first make sure your system will support the new OS. Absolute minimum hardware requirements include:
- Processor: 1GHz or faster processor
- RAM: 1GB for 32-bit or 2GB for 64-bit
- Hard disk space: 16GB for 32-bit OS 20GB for 64-bit OS
- Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
- Display: 1024×600
Having verified you meet those requirements, you need to acquire a copy of Windows 10, which you can download from Microsoft’s Windows 10 download site, downloading the version you need (Home or Professional, 32-bit or 64-bit).
Your Windows 10 OS will download, allowing you to create a bootable disk with the software. From that bootable file, run the setup.exe file.
WIN 10 installation will begin.
You will be asked to agree to license terms, as with most software applications, after which the install will verify that your machine meets the minimum requirements to proceed. If not, it will tell you why you don’t have a system capable of running Windows 10. If your hardware is compatible, the installation will continue.
There are several points during the Windows 10 installation where the OS will reboot your system, which is normal. Once complete, Windows 10 will prompt you for some initial settings to personalize your system.
Finally, you can reload your personal files from your backup source, and reinstall any application programs that you utilize. Then, finalize your installation with the next topic.
Finalizing Your Upgrade from Windows XP
Whether you upgraded from Windows XP by buying a new computer, or upgraded the operating system on your existing hardware, there is a final step you should take to ensure your environment is current and stable.
Utilize Windows Update to allow your system to search for any updates that may be available since your copy of Windows 10 was released.
Use the search option on the WIN 10 taskbar to type Settings, or open Notifications on the right side of the taskbar. Click on All Settings to start the app.
Click the Update and Security link to get to the Windows Update options
Clicking the ‘Check for Updates’ option will allow the update function to search Microsoft for applicable updates to your system. A list of updates available will be displayed, along with an option to download and install the changes.
Update Your Drivers
Another important step is to update your drivers. An ideal solution for this final step is registering with a driver service that will examine your system for devices and associated drivers. Certainly, you can search the internet for drivers related to each device on your system, and decide if the drivers need to be updated, but this can be a confusing and time-consuming process.
Automated services are the quickest and most reliable option for keeping your Windows 10 drivers updated and performing properly.
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