Know a friend who’s still running Windows XP on their computer? Well, then you’re the right person to tell them to upgrade.

At least, that’s the hope in Microsoft’s latest strategy to help wean users off their addiction to the ageing operating system. Brandon LeBlanc, spokesperson for the software giant, posted a blog on the Windows site pointing out that fewer than 60 days remain for XP, and then said that “we need your help spreading the word to ensure people are safe and secure on modern up-to-date PCs”.

LeBlanc lays out the facts, saying that tech-savvy computer users can help their non-technical friends weigh up their options. It’s possible to download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant, a tool that’ll look at your current computer and see whether it can run a newer version of Windows. Of course, if it can’t, it’s not like Microsoft’s going to let you get a copy of Windows 7, which your computer might run. Although, any computer that can’t run Windows 8 is probably not worth using every day – slow hardware is a real test of patience.

The other option, LeBlanc writes, is to simply get a new PC. That’s certainly easier said than done, especially in the local market which has just been hit by some none-too-favourable exchange rates. A new computer running Windows 8.1 will cost R4 500 at the least, and that’s R4 500 some people simply don’t have. So, really then, the options are probably things people are already aware of, but don’t have the financial means to remedy.

Windows XP originally became available in 2001, and Microsoft will cease support for the 13-year-old operating system on the 8th of April this year. This comes after it extended the service agreement, back in 2011, to give people more time to upgrade. Now, the troublesome teenager – much like Internet Explorer 6 – has its hangers-on, and the 30% of web-browsing computers that still use it will prove a big security risk. One that’ll have Microsoft’s name attached to it.

While it’s not mentioned, obviously, the cheapest way to get a new operating system on your existing hardware is by installing Ubuntu Linux. All the security you can get for the price of nothing more than the bandwidth to download Mark Shuttleworth’s free operating system.

Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.