Charles from New York writes:
Thanks for all the info re the demise of Windows XP. What I am concerned about is, even if my XP running computer will work with Windows 7 or 8, what about my programs which, as far as I know, are all XP type programs. is there any way I will be able to use them as I have a great deal of data in each of them and need some of them for business? Thanks for any information or suggestions you can give me.
Charles, the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor will check compatibility with Windows 7. You can check 8.1 compatibility by clicking the Compatibility Center  and entering the names of the programs you’d like to check.
The results will show if the program is compatible or if action is needed.
You can click on the Action Recommended icon to see what steps you can take to use the program. In this case, buying a newer version of the software.
If programs are compatible, you’ll need to have the original program discs, because upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 is a clean install and you’ll be overwriting the system. All of that important data will need to backed up on an external drive or in the cloud and then transferred back to your computer.
Even if you need to get a Windows 7 or 8 compatible version of a program you now use, it’s possible that your data can be converted to work with those newer programs or be saved in a format that will allow it to be transferred. Most document and spreadsheet files can be converted for use in newer programs.
I’m not sure which specific programs you’re worried about, but your best resource for that type of information may be the company that developed the program.