This is it, folks. The day that Windows XP users have been dreading for the past several months since Microsoft announced that it was going to end support for the beloved operating system. April 8 is here. The XPocalypse is here. And it comes alongside the latest Windows 8.1 update. No coincidence here.

So, the end date is here. What’s going to happen?

We already know that computers with Windows XP installed will not suddenly self-destruct. The world will actually continue to go round its axis as it has done for centuries. People’s lives will continue. Computers will continue to boot – and hang – and programs will continue running.

The XPocalpyse is Here: It's Really Goodbye, Windows XP!

Until some smarta$$ goes for Windows XP vulnerabilities and decides to launch an all out attack on machines running on the OS. Without Microsoft sending out security updates, XP users will have to take care of themselves.

There are die-hard XP users who refuse to change their OS in spite of Microsoft’s immense efforts to lure them to upgrade, and you know what? They seem to have valid reasons to stick with XP. There’s even this guy, Bob Appel, who uses a host of other methods to ensure that his network is secure while running on Windows XP:

I use a third-party firewall, a free virus checker, and run Housecall periodically. My Firefox browser uses Keyscrambler, HTTPS Anywhere, Ghostery, and Disconnect. I also have a VPN account (PIA) when traveling. For suspicious email attachments, I deploy private proprietary bioware (me!) to analyze before opening. All the ‘experts’ say I am crazy. Thing is, I stopped the security updates in XP years ago after a bad update trashed my system, and yet I have never been infected, although online for hours each day. So, crazy though I be, I am sticking with XP.

Not everyone is experiencing the XPocalypse today, however. The government of The Netherlands, for example, has been able to convince Microsoft to continue support for Windows XP – to the tune of millions of Euros. Money does talk!

For the rest of the world, though, today is the day when Windows XP users may seriously have to think about making that sacrifice called paying for Windows 7 or 8. Or maybe switch to Mac.

[Image via microsoft]