Microsoft ending support for Windows XP

Microsoft support for Windows XP ends today.

The popular operating system has been around for 12 years, and an estimated 30 percent of businesses and consumers are still using it. While they will be able to continue to run XP after Tuesday, Microsoft says it will no longer provide new security updates, issue fixes to non-security related problems or offer online technical content updates. Microsoft says it will provide anti-malware-related updates through July 14, 2015, but warns that the tweaks could be of limited help on an outdated operating system.

Security experts say that could put everything from the operations of heavy industry to the identities of everyday people in danger. Patrick Thomas at the firm Neohapsis says hackers have "a big neon bull's eye" on the issue.

Thomas says XP has been a reliable workhorse, prompting a wide variety of people and businesses to stick with it instead of upgrading to other Windows systems. In addition to home computers, XP is used to run everything from water treatment facilities and power plants to small businesses like doctor's offices.