According to research data from Net Applications, nearly 33% of the world’s computers still run Windows XP operating system. That means, statistically, one in three students taking online courses for medical billing and coding are using a machine running the twelve year old software. Why is this a problem? Well, it is because Microsoft has announced its previously postponed plan to stop offering ongoing support for its XP product since it has released no less than three newer operating systems since XP (Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8). Once they stop devoting resources to monitoring malicious viruses and other “hacktivities” to protect XP, it will be quickly overrun by spyware, malware and other icky computer illnesses which can leave users vulnerable to identity theft and other problems. You can’t really blame Microsoft for ceasing to spend money on updating a product they stopped selling a dozen years ago. But is is important information for people studying medical billing online (or anything else for that matter) to know. What can you do about it? Well, you can install a newer OS like Windows 7 or Windows 8. Or you could opt for an open source operating system like Ubuntu from Linux (which is completely free and works just as well as Microsoft’s Windows). Or, you might take the opportunity just after the holiday season to score a closeout/clearance deal on a brand new computer which will come pre-loaded with the latest available OS. But whatever you do, be prepared if your machine runs XP, because its days are numbered. For more on the fate of XP, read here.