Windows XP was a hugely successful operating system and is still used by millions of people all over the world. Unfortunately, it's been in use for over 12 years, has been succeeded by three Microsoft operating systems (first Windows Vista, then Windows 7, and then Windows 8), and is approaching its "retirement" of sorts.
When I talk of the "retirement" of Windows XP, I mean the end of support for the product from Microsoft. The self-service Microsoft Support site will still be available for Windows XP (probably forever) but there will be no more free, or paid, support for the product.
In other words, no more security-based updates on Patch Tuesday, no more bug fixes, no more service packs. You're certainly welcome to continue to use Windows XP as long as you'd like but you'll probably find that newer software will be less and less likely to work properly. As many software makers have already done over the past several years, most or all will stop making sure that their product works with Windows XP.
See Microsoft's 365 Days Remaining Until XP End Of Support. The Countdown Begins article from last week for all the technical details.
When Does Windows XP Support End?
Support (security patches, bug fixes, etc.) will end on April 8, 2014. Until then, Windows XP will will still be supported in Microsoft's monthly patches.
What Are My Options?
The easiest option is to do nothing. However, as I mentioned above, you run the risk of a less useable computer as time goes on. You also run the risk of being open to Windows security vulnerabilities that are discovered in the future.
The other option, assuming your computer hardware meets minimum requirements, is to upgrade to a newer version of Windows. Windows 7 or Windows 8 makes the most sense.
I'll be reminding you again here in my blog, and via social networks, as the support-end date approaches.