Windows XP Expires April 8th; What Consumers Should Do

(NBC News) "This is a version of Windows that will take the PC industry to new heights," Microsoft's Bill Gates said of Windows XP almost 13 years ago.

Now the company's finally pulling the plug on Windows XP.

"It's still going to work after April 8. The big difference is, Microsoft is not going to issue any more security updates or patches to that system," explains CNET's Dan Ackerman.

Ackerman says without that extra layer of security even XP users who have anti-virus protection will be increasingly vulnerable to viruses and hackers.

"Either you're going to learn to live with the risk or upgrade to something else," warns Ackerman

The vast majority of the world's computers have been upgraded over the years to newer operating systems,such as Windows 7 and Windows 8, but as many as 25 to 30 percent of computers still rely on XP.

That's got the owners of those computers faced with replacing them outright, or, if the unit's not too old, simply upgrading the operating system from XP.

"If you have something that's maybe five or six years old, you could probably get a more modern operating system on it, but it might be time for an update anyway," advises Ackerman.

That's because older computers may not have the technical specs to accommodate newer operating systems.

"A lot of people tend to keep their old hardware past its useful life cycle because a lot of people do Facebook, they do email and they do things they don't need a very high end computer for," says Ackerman.