If you’re still using Windows XP SP2, you’re about to be on your own. Today Microsoft releases its final security update for Service Pack 2 (the 32-bit version, at least).
So what does that mean for your bordering-on-retro computer? From Computerworld:
Microsoft will not offer any security patches, no matter how severe the vulnerability, no matter what part of Windows or associated component is involved. No more Windows patches — and no more patches for Internet Explorer (IE), no patches for Windows Media Player, no patches for Outlook Express.
Computerworld notes that if you upgrade to Service Pack 3, you can continue to enjoy support until 2014. If you’re running SP2 on a 64-bit version of XP, you’ll keep getting SP2 support because there isn’t an SP3 available for you.
Otherwise, if you can’t or don’t want to upgrade to SP3, the website suggests you stop using Internet Explorer and look to Firefox for your browsing needs, since Mozilla seems likely to support SP2 until at least 2012. You should also stay on top of third-party security updates; Adobe’s Reader has become one of the most heavily exploited plug-ins in 2010.