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      Microsoft ending support for Windows XP

      Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP beginning April 8, 2014.

      After 12 years, Microsoft is ending support of Windows XP, its longest-running operating system.

      After April 8, Microsoft will no longer release updates or patches for it, meaning the 30 percent of computers worldwide that still run it will no longer be secure.

      Microsoft's decision to stop supporting Windows XP has left many users with questions. "We were concerned that as soon as we encounter a problem, we would no longer be able to access our email and look at pictures of our grandkids, things like that," said computer customer Steve Eder.

      Chris Langendoerfer at Capital City Computer Service said although the operating system will still be fully functional, users will still be less secure because Microsoft will stop offering security updates.

      "As long as your computer has its current anti-virus software, that software will continue to update. So, you will still have some protection but it won't all be there," Langendoerfer said.

      Software will no longer be made to be compatible with Windows XP, meaning as time goes on fewer and fewer applications will be compatible with the operating system.

      Marcus Files at Nate's Computer Repair in Columbia said over the course of several months, the functionality of Windows XP will slowly evaporate.

      "What they'll see is a slow, steady decrease in program compatibility, and the ability to browse the web effectively," Files said.

      Files also said businesses running proprietary software designed just for their computer systems may also experience problems as well.

      "Overall, I can say it's definitely in the person's best interest to go ahead and move into a new operating system," Files said.

      Files said he recommends upgrading to a newer operating system or purchasing a new system as soon as possible.