On the one hand, if your budget won't allow you to invest in new hardware right now, you could switch to Linux. Linux generally runs smoothly on older, less powerful PCs, and you can make it look and feel a lot like Windows to diminish the learning curve. There are a variety of flavors to choose from, but Ubuntu is one of the more popular.
On the other hand, if you're going to purchase new hardware anyway, maybe it's time to consider a switch to Mac OS X. Apple's OS has been gaining market share, and it has a reputation for being simple and more intuitive than Windows.
If you rely heavily on Google and cloud-based tools and services, you could also choose Chromebook PCs armed with Google's Chrome OS.
A year can seem like an eternity. When the time comes, a small business or individual can just upgrade or switch the OS, or buy a new PC. When you're only dealing with one or several PCs, it's not a big deal.
For larger companies, though, things move at glacial speed. Consider that many companies haven't done an OS or hardware refresh in the past five or six years. If they haven't begun selecting a new OS and developing a plan to roll it out, it may be too late to beat the Windows XP deadline.
The bottom line is, the deadline is looming, so get your own post-XP plan in order.
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