What Will Happen in April 2014

Dear Computer Lady,

Please help me figure out what to do in April when I hear Microsoft will no longer support Outlook Express. Our computer dates from 2003 so I think it will be affected, but does it mean that OE will cease to exist? Besides OE for our emails, we do some web browsing with Mozilla and have a gmail account. Will they continue to work?

I have been a subscriber for many years and recommended you to many people.Thank you for all those years of good advice and I hope you will be able to help me with this problem.

Best wishes, Loretta

Dear Loretta,

In April, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for Windows XP.

This does not mean that your computer will suddenly stop working, or that you will be unable to use it any more. However, it will mean that, as time goes on, your computer will be more and more susceptible to hackers and malware.

Until April of 2014, when hackers and malware creators find a way to get past the security in Windows XP, Microsoft comes back with an update that will block those attempts.

After April of 2014, hackers and malware creators know that once they find a way into Windows XP, there will be no counter measure from Microsoft, and all they have to do is find as many computer still running Windows XP as they can.

So, even though your computer will continue to work, it will be more and more vunerable as time goes on.

What can you do? Since the average computer lasts about 5 years, and yours is going on 11 years old, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to put much money into it. It would cost quite a bit to try and upgrade this computer to a newer version of Windows.

You can still continue to use this computer safely if you disconnect it from the internet, but that means that you wouldn’t be able to check your emails or go online.

A new computer with the latest in security updates would be the best solution, but if that is not an option, you might want to consider running some kind of Linux software when going online, and only using XP when you are disconnected from the internet. I sometimes set my customers up with a Linux CD that they can use when they want to go online safely.

As for your email, unfortunately, Outlook Express is no longer an option. It has been replaced in newer versions of Windows with Windows Mail, which is similar. Since you are already comfortable using Gmail, I would suggest that you set up your Outlook Express email address in Gmail (something that I can help you with if needed) and then use Gmail either on a newer computer or tablet or in Linux on your current computer.

Elizabeth

 

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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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One Response to “What Will Happen in April 2014”

  1. faraway says:

    The suggestion for switching from Windows XP to a Linux system is very helpful. Do you have any recommendations for novices about the various Linux distributions? Linux Mint, Ubuntu, and Fedora all seem like possible choices, but it would help to know trade-offs before spending a few hours installing and trying them out.

    Thank you!

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