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Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away

Whether you use the Windows XP , Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 operating systems, today is an important day.

For the 27% that use Windows XP it means the being of the end as, after 12 years, Redmond-based Microsoft is pull the plug on its icon operating system. The operating system was originally slated for retirement on April 14, 2009 but was granted a 5 year reprieve after the Windows Vista fiasco that had several users rolling back to Window XP. Just because its life-support is being taken away doesn't mean the elderly operating system will die right away. Users who have it install will still be able to use it but will not get any help from the Redmond-based parent company.

If you do decide that it is time to move on there are a few options for you. Microsoft has set up an incentive program where they offer current XP user a $100 discount on new PCs that cost $599. If you choose to do this the computer must be bought at a Microsoft store and purchased by June 15, 2014. If you don't want to buy a new computer you can upgrade to either Windows 7 or Windows 8 or do a fresh install of Windows 8.1. If you choose to do either the upgrade or fresh install you will need to backup any personal files you wish to keep and make sure that your computer meets the requirements.

Now, if you are one of the 11% of PC users that are currently using either Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 you will be able to receive a major update that is geared to make the current operating system more laptop and desktop friendly. It will add the power and search buttons to the top of the start screen, the close and minimize buttons to apps, more control to the task bar and few more options to make it feel more familiar. For a more complete list of the new features you should look at Microsoft's Windows blog.

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