On April 8, 2014, Microsoft discontinued support for Windows XP. On May 13, 2014, they stopped support for Windows 8.1. You read that right. No more support for Windows 8.1, which hasn’t even been out for a year yet.
Microsoft dropping support means automatic updates will no longer function.
Removing automatic updates from Windows is similar to removing the immune system from a human being. Given enough time, some sort of attack or virus will take hold with the affects ranging from potentially destroying/stealing personal data to potentially destroying Windows itself.
What to Do
If your computer is running Windows XP, it’s in your best interest to replace your computer as soon as possible. Here are some tips for picking out a new laptop; you can apply most of these principles to picking out a new desktop as well.
If your have Windows Vista or Windows 7, make sure you have the latest service pack. If you have Windows 8.1, be sure you have the Windows 8.1 Update installed.
If you need to install a service pack or update, they are available in the Windows Update area in the Control Panel of your computer.
How can I tell which version of Windows I have?
This webpage will tries to determine you which version of Windows you have; it also give you steps to manually figure out your version:
Here is a quick chart to see what is and isn’t supported: