Yesterday, if you weren't aware, marks the day Microsoft announced two years ago when it stops providing support for Windows XP. It's no exaggeration to say that Windows XP is the most popular operating system in history, as shown by the fact that almost 30% of computers accessing the Internet last month were running it twelve years after it came out in late 2001. (Not to mention the countless other unconnected computers that are running it. Most ATMs, for example, are still running XP.)
In some ways Microsoft has been the victim of their own success with XP, as shown by the fact that such a significant number of people haven't moved on yet and bought more up-to-date versions of Windows yet. There's another more charitable reason to want people to upgrade; Windows XP was designed long before many of the advanced and dangerous malware threats of today were even conceived of, and while Microsoft has dutifully patched it all these years there comes a point when it's in everyone's best interests to move on. It's a simpler operating system for a simpler time.
Now that Microsoft has pushed its last patch for XP (at least for those who aren't paying exorbitant amounts for an extended service plan such as the British government), any vulnerabilities found in the future will remain un-patched and, well, vulnerable. If any of you out there are reading this on XP, I'd definitely suggest thinking about getting off it quickly. There are a number of good alternative operating systems out there that are much more secure and up-to-date. From personal experience I can say that Windows 7 is much like XP, and if you happen to feel like shaking things up there are any number of free Linux versions to choose from that will work just as well (such as some that I wrote about a few weeks ago).
I'll definitely hold fond memories of Windows XP because that was the operating system of my first computer, but unlike the 30% of the population still running it I moved on years ago (a little over four years ago, to be precise, when I bought my current laptop with Windows 7). Rather than attempting to grasp something that is by nature ephemeral, I look at changing operating systems as an opportunity to change, grow, and try and try something new. At some point in the future I'll need to move on from Windows 7, and you know what? I'm rather looking forward to it.