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Microsoft ends Windows XP support today

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Microsoft is retiring Windows XP today, as promised earlier this year, and will no longer offer support, meaning the OS will cease to receive updates after nearly 12 years, the company announced today on the Windows website.

According to the post, it's time for the company to invest and focus on "more recent technologies." The operating system was released in 2001; in 2009, it migrated from mainstream support to extended support.

Several recently released games, including titles such as Goat Simulator, Luftrausers and South Park: The Stick of Truth, include Windows XP as a viable operating system option. Dark Souls 2, due on PC April 25, will also still support XP. According to Steam, approximately six percent of Windows users continue to use a version of XP.

However, Steam and other services have slowly faded out older versions of Windows XP. In 2012, Windows XP SP1 or lower was dropped, while games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 won't run the system at all. That same year, Microsoft announced that multimedia application programming interface DirectX 11.1 would be exclusive to Windows 8.

Microsoft Security Essentials, which helps guard against viruses, spyware and other malicious software, will no longer be available for XP; those who already own it, however, will receive updates for a limited time. This does not, however, mean computers running XP are secure, since updates are no longer provided.

"If you continue to use Windows XP now that support has ended, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses," the post reads. "Internet Explorer 8 is also no longer supported, so if your Windows XP PC is connected to the Internet and you use Internet Explorer 8 to surf the web, you might be exposing your PC to additional threats. Also, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter more apps and devices that do not work with Windows XP."

Microsoft recommends upgrading your PC to Windows 8.1; system requirements can be determined by running the Windows Upgrade Assistant.