Announcement from Andrew Rawnsley, 4th April, 2014.
R-Comp Interactive have recently written to users of RISCube and RISCBook computer systems regarding the imminent end-of-life of Windows XP (April 8th). The general advice is “don’t panic” but we have provided a range of (we hope) helpful tips to bear in mind if you’re still using Windows XP on your RISCube or RISCbook.
If you haven’t received this information and feel you should have, or have questions even if you’re not an existing customer, please contact us by phone (01925 755043) or email and we would be more than happy to help.
The actual advice email is quite lengthy (too much so for a comp.sys.acorn.announce posting) but covers things like security implications, antivirus, web browsing, banking, email and RISC OS usage.
To clarify what Andrew means about Windows XP’s ‘end-of-life’ on 8th April, 2014: The operating system itself, which Microsoft first released to the public some thirteen years ago, in 2001, will continue to work just as it does now – as will any software running on it, such as VirtualRiscPC, which R-Comp ships pre-installed on RISCube and RISCBook computers. What is ending is Microsoft’s support for the operating system, meaning there will be no more technical support and – more notably for most people – no more regular updates, usually supplied automatically via Windows Update, after that date.
As well as bug fixes and improvements, those updates often addressed weaknesses and vulnerabilities that have been found in the operating system, which could otherwise be exploited by malware writers to get their software onto people’s computers – so with support coming to an end, it is vitally important that, if you are continuing to use Windows XP, you keep your security software up to date.
One piece of advice given in Microsoft’s announcement, linked above, is to consider upgrading your computer, offering the Windows Upgrade Assistant as a download, to see if your computer is one on which Windows 8.1 can be run and, if so, providing an route to do just that (or suggesting the purchase of a new computer if not). However, the advice for VirtualRiscPC users from here in the Soft Rock Software/RISCOSitory top secret undergound bunker is not to upgrade to Windows 8.1. If you are considering an upgrade then Windows 7 is a much better proposition.
However, as long as you are security conscious, and take all necessary precautions with your system, and you keep your security tools and antivirus software up to date, your copy of VirtualRiscPC should continue to work on your Windows XP computer system long into the future (hardware problems aside).
With all of that in mind, as well as contacting R-Comp for help and advice, as suggested in Andrew’s announcement, two additional places to consider are the VirtualAcorn forum , and the VirtualAcorn-users mailing list. There is already a thread on the mailing list, entitled “End of Microsoft support for Windows XP, started by T.O.M.S. and containing some useful advice.