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Windows XP users beware - abc27 WHTM

Windows XP users beware

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

If you are still running Windows XP, your computer is more vulnerable to viruses and your personal information may be at risk.

That is because Microsoft ended XP support. Many of those updates are not serious, they just help your computer run faster.

"The serious part is when you talk about security patches. There's a large number of miscreants, bad guys and gals out there who are constantly trying to find ways to break into computers," said Chuck Davis, a professor at Harrisburg University.

Davis said one third of all computers connected to the internet run on Windows XP.

Microsoft decided to end support because the operating system is 12 years old.

"Let's say you have a '57 Chevy and you took it into the Chevy dealership today and said, hey this thing's making some weird noises, could you take a look at it? They would look at you and say sorry but we don't make parts for this car anymore. That's kind of the way Microsoft is handling Windows XP support, because they've got better faster products out there," said Davis.

What does this all mean for people who use Windows XP? Your computer is more vulnerable to hackers and attackers.

"Today the world doesn't end if you're using Windows XP. But you really should look to upgrade to a newer version of windows. Windows 7, Windows 8. Certainly if you're familiar with XP I recommend Windows 7 because it looks and feels a lot like Windows XP," said Davis.

You can buy a new computer that already has a newer operating system.

You do not have to make any changes, but it is at your own risk.

"There's been a lot of talk about whether hackers have been collecting security holes and waiting until after April 8, 2014 to release them out into the wild because they know Microsoft windows won't fix them on XP," Davis said.

If you are using Windows XP for simple tasks and are not connected to the internet, experts said you have nothing to worry about.

Businesses that use Windows XP can buy extended support, but experts said it is very pricey. That option is not available to individual users.

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