Even good things come to an end, and it\u2019s really, really time to say goodbye to Windows XP. As good as it was\u00a0 -- at least compared to the hated Vista -- the sturdy operating system is not only obsolete, it is getting dangerous to run. That\u2019s because Microsoft is getting ready to pull the plug on the last vestiges of support for Windows XP SP3 and that means no more security updates.\n\tThat won\u2019t happen until April, but it\u2019s worth mentioning now because you need to think about buying a new PC with a new OS, or updating your old warhorse with something newer.\n\tDon\u2019t think that Microsoft is merely trying to get you to buy a new computer and a new copy of Windows. Well, it is, of course, but the company points out in a blog post that when the earlier version of XP (Service Pack 2) went out of support, \u201cits malware infection rate was 66 percent higher than Windows XP Service Pack 3,\u201d the final version of XP.\n\tLike me, you may not be a fan of Windows 8, but Tim Rains, the Microsoft security guy who wrote the post, notes that Windows XP SP2\u00a0 now has an infection rate that is six times higher than the new operating system.\n\tI don\u2019t like to tell consumers to worry about every little threat that some security company tries to publicize, but there\u2019s really no reason to run an operating system that isn\u2019t supported by security updates. Hackers and spammers tend to go after soft targets, and when they notice vulnerability they\u2019ll engineer a subtle shift inside their malware which will then be able to penetrate your defenses.\n\tSecurity is like a game of leapfrog. Hackers attach with a new offense, security folks build a defense against it, and the attackers come back with yet another variety of malware. But after April, only one side will be playing, and you risk being a loser because of that.\n\tAlthough I think you should give up on XP, there is an interim solution being offered by Avira, an anti-virus maker. It\u2019s free product will support XP until April 2015. Avira doesn\u2019t have the bells and whistles of other products, but the price is right and from my experience using it, it works quite well. (It\u2019s possible that other vendors will do the same, but I haven\u2019t heard from them yet. If I do, I\u2019ll update this post.)\n\tNonetheless, it\u2019s time to say goodbye to XP. For all its faults, Microsoft really has learned a thing or two in the last decade, Windows 7, for instance is a very solid product. What\u2019s more, there\u2019s quite a bit of good software around that simply won\u2019t run on Windows XP.\n\tImage: Courtesy of Microsoft.