Drew's right, it's every 3 years & no one is "forced" to upgrade. I now have 4 working computers, one Dell Dimension 2400 PC (P4 2.66, upgraded from Celeron 2.4) & a ThinkPad T42, both of those shipped with XP & are running fine. Though I did have to do some upgrades on the Dell to "revive" it, that Celeron 2.4 (Northwood) is the very worst Intel CPU that I've ever had.

The other two are listed in my Specs below & both are dual booting Windows 8 Pro & Windows 7. More than likely, the HP (AMD based) will be history by year's end, I was going to wait until the next Windows, but I can't. The M4 SSD running on it is not producing the dramatic performance increases that it did on my Intel equipped MSI. The WEI shows a higher drive score (7.6), but that doesn't tell the whole story. I'm even considering removing it & reverting to the stock HDD (a 320GB SATA 2 Caviar Blue) to prevent permanent performance loss. I've been informed that these M4's runs best on Intel controllers, & it did on the MSI, it was just on that one, I needed a larger SSD, the 180GB Intel 330 gives me all that I need & then some.

As far as the XP computers are concerned, they're both running great, considering their advancing age, both were built in early 2003, making them 10 years old. My wife uses the ThinkPad, that I made a makeshift desktop out of, using it's docking station & a 19" NEC MulitSync LCD 1960NX (an expensive monitor in it's days, twice the cost of the Dell Dimension 2400).

By the way, what happened to docking stations being included with notebooks? Every notebook that I bought with Windows 2000/XP Pro came with them. Plenty of ports for most anything. Not to mention the saving of wear & tear on the DC power jack, that's plugged into the docking station & never moved. A simple press on a latch button releases the notebook from the docking station.

The Dell Dimension 2400 that's also running XP Pro runs decently with a few inexpensive upgrades (notably the CPU that I found for less than $8). I even added a Rosewill RC-212 SATA RAID PCI card. Don't use, nor care for the RAID, but the SATA 1 speeds are far faster than any IDE speeds, it came with all necessary adapters & even a floppy with the drivers (needed for XP installs in SATA mode). Being that I have several SATA HDD's of varying capacities around, that was no extra cost.

It's connected to the same monitor as my nearly 2 year old MSI via a HP 2010i 20" widescreen (1600x900) LCD monitor (a hand me down that I was glad to get a few months ago), it not only has the VGA port for the Dell, but a DVI-D port for the MSI. Of course, this isn't the MSI's natural connection, it's connected via a HDMI to DVI-D cable (I believe that the NEC has the same, but it's no widescreen).

When I buy a new computer, I'll also buy a new monitor with dual HDMI connectors for the best graphic quality, it will serve that one plus my MSI.

For the longest time, I really enjoyed XP, & Win 2K before that. Those were simpler times, my earliest days of learning. Both of my XP computers are well kept up (updated & programs patched). Many users are unaware, but it's just as important to patch (update) their programs (known as apps today), as it is to run Windows/MS update monthly.

I'll never knock what OS one runs, the way I see it, it's the user's choice. Perhaps times are tough & even with the great Windows 8 Pro promo going on, the CPU doesn't support NX (the case with both of my XP computers), the make & brake deal that is usually the deciding factor when it comes to upgrading Windows XP to 8 Pro. Some later model computers passes this requirement, however many 10+ year old ones doesn't.

Back to my previous paragraph, it's imperative to keep one's apps updated, all of them. This includes IE (even if only used for updating) & all 3rd party browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Opera) There are some OEM installed apps that can be replaced with freeware that's better than what was written in 2003/2004, or can be done away with. Java always needs to be kept up to date, even one version behind can pose a serious risk, let alone running a very old version of it. Same goes for Flash & your choice of PDF Reader. Many chooses Adobe, but I prefer Nitro (reader & writer in one) & there's also Foxit (all choices are Free). This applies to all versions of Windows.

Use a quality uninstaller such as Revo Uninstaller to remove the older, useless, extremely unsecure apps of 10 years ago & replace each (if desired) with a free alternative. Many can be found here, for free.

FileHippo.com - Download Free Software

Keep a decent AV running on XP (MSE is fine & will soon also include AM protection). Or Avast. Whatever choice, it's also good to run MBAM Free (also available from the link above). Keep it updated & run a Full scan every two weeks. With your main AV protection, run a Full scan at least 2 times weekly with a short scan daily. This applies to all versions of Windows.

Visit Windows/MS Update weekly to make sure all critical updates (some are out of band, one was last week) are applied. Make sure on Update Tuesday (the 2nd Tuesday of each month) to check for updates at 1PM of your local time. This applies to all actively supported versions of Windows, not just XP.

By keeping your XP (or other Windows install) updated, apps patched & running regular virus/malware scans, this does a lot to keep even a soon to be 12 year old OS safe & secure as possible.

Finally, if you're not backing up your computer, now's the time to learn. It's really simple to do after a couple of times. Macrium Reflect is a good free choice & is also at File Hippo. Email registration is now required, but that's all. Make sure to burn your recovery CD, or the app may be useless when needed. Though I haven't used it in a while (I have paid backup software), Macrium has saved my backside several times in years past. There is no excuse for users NOT to backup, none whatsoever, though depending upon who's doing the counting, 60 to 80% of home users has no, as in zero, backup plan at all. This is totally unacceptable, given that we're soon to be in the year 2013, & free backup apps has been available for 10+ years.

When we're talking about an OS whose support is about to end, backup becomes more important than ever. Once wiped out by a virus or hard drive failure, w/no backup to revert to, or CD to reinstall from, it becomes either time to buy a new computer or learn to use Linux Mint or Ubuntu, free alternatives with steep learning curves. Much steeper than Windows 8, that's for sure.

Those options are beyond the scope of this discussion & hopefully more Windows users will employ free backup & security plans. For XP users, time is of essence.

Cat