KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Technologies come, and technologies go. For PC users, the end of an era has arrived, as Microsoft's support for Windows XP ends on Tuesday. The tech giant announced to its customers the intention to discontinue support for XP in 2013.
The tech world is known for consuming technologies in a hurry. That's why the 13-year life span of Windows XP is unique.
In his Westport apartment workshop, Tim Swartz operates Tim Can Fix It Now. He's operated the small business since the year 2000.
His repair business has grown into a social media engine, but he still does computer repairs on the side, including some for XP users. In fact, Swartz says over half of his repair clients are still on XP, which after Tuesday, will no longer be supported by Microsoft.
"On XP, you're not safe now, but you're really not going to be safe in the coming months," Swartz said.
Lack of support means those updates that appear for Windows users won't show up anymore for XP users. That means Microsoft will no longer fill the security cracks that are friendly to hackers and malware.
"Within a month or two, there will be an exploit that everyone will know, and it's going to be the wild west," Swartz warned. "Anyone can do anything to anyone if they know how to do it. Microsoft isn't going to plug that hole, and you're going to be a target."
Swartz says computers meant for Windows XP are nearing the end of their life spans, and will soon need to be upgraded anyway. Now that Microsoft is ending its support for the old operating system, an upgrade is move toward protecting personal data.
"It does what you need," Swartz said of XP. "Just don't put financial data on there. Anything; your kids pictures. It's all fair game."
For users who want to remain on XP, but need to feel secure while doing so, Swartz recommends picking up an external hard drives. You can get them at larger stores and from online shops, and they'll cost you about $100.
Some retailers, such as Best Buy, are using this occasion as a chance to cash in.
They're offering discounts to Windows XP users who trade their old PC's in. The new computers run on newer operating systems including Microsoft Windows 8.1.