Here’s the URL for the countdown, and more information regarding support (or the soon to be lack of) for those PCs still running Windows XP:
What this means for those of you still rocking Windows XP on your home PC or laptop is no more security updates, and no support from Microsoft for your system. There will most certainly be continued security threats against these systems, but no more patches to keep them safe.
You don’t have to throw away perfectly good hardware, though, once this clock runs out for Windows XP! The vast majority of systems that shipped with Windows XP will probably not be up to the task of running Windows 7 or 8, but that doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a new computer. It is, however, time to make a good backup of all of your data to keep it safe.
Once you have a known good backup of your data, you could try booting up a Linux distribution’s “Live” version and see how it performs on your hardware. This is done off of either a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, and allows you to try out a version of Linux without installing anything to your hard drive, or modifying existing data in any way.
Here are some links to Linux distributions I am familiar with and have used on older hardware in the past to replace Windows 2000 and Windows XP for friends and family:
Ubuntu and Fedora are full-featured (with all the nice shiny features on the desktop), while Lubuntu is geared towards systems that may have less resources than a high-end Windows XP system.
You can also elect to install a Linux distribution alongside your existing Windows XP system, and select which operating system you want to use every time you start (or restart) your computer. Be warned, you really should have a full backup of your existing system before trying this out!
So, have fun with that old Windows XP system! Breathe some life into your hardware with Linux, and continue to get some use out of that perfectly good hardware.