IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Microsoft will stop supporting the Windows XP operating system in six days, and it has many families and businesses scrambling for a solution.
When Microsoft ceases its support for Windows XP on April 8, technical support, updates and security patches will stop altogether.
Monte McCall owns and operates FatGeek Computer Service in Idaho Falls. He is constantly upgrading and replacing computers with the 12-year-old operating system.
"It's insane," said McCall. "We've been so busy."
McCall said PC users will shift to Windows 7 and 8 as Windows XP is phased out.
"It's kind of like if you have a 1950 Plymouth," said McCall. "How long do you expect them to give you free parts for it? I mean, the company can only do it for so long."
According to NetMarketShare, roughly 27 percent of PC users still use Windows XP. He said even with third-party security softwares, Windows XP will be essentially useless.
"There's only so much an antivirus company can do," said McCall. "If the antivirus company comes up with an update that conflicts with XP, they can't get the help to make it work with Windows XP anymore."
So, McCall said now is the time to update or replace, or problems will soon follow.
"It's going to become infected easily, it's going to run poorly," said McCall. "You're not going to be able to get the newer websites, the securer websites, like your banking website. You man not even be able to access it anymore from the machine, because it's just flat insecure."
McCall has been helping businesses make the transition for months, but some still haven't made the switch.
"If you buy one a month or every other month, you're OK," said McCall. "If it's cutting this late, you're going to have to buy a whole bunch at once."
Action Motor Sports in Idaho Falls has been making the transition for months. Steve Dutcher, the company's controller, said inventory, shipping and accounting is all handled by computers. With the clock ticking, he said they're transitioning to Windows 7.
"That has higher security, and it has Microsoft backing it up," said Dutcher. "It's going to be a more secure, safer option for our business, because we have customer information and we take that seriously."
With a 1-to-1 computer to employee ratio, you can imagine how expensive that is.
"Software and computers aren't cheap," said Dutcher. "Getting an IT person to come in to update our computers, it takes a lot of time and the software costs a lot of money."