All this hype about end of support for XP is laughable. I think MS is behind most of it, just trying to push the unpopular Win 8. We have had 3 service packs and 100+ updates after SP3, so surely MS has covered the vast majority of vulnerabilities that existed in XP. Of course, the biggest vulnerability to any OS is the user. A user that doesn't keep antivirus up to date, browses risky sites, is a sucker for any pop-up(free computer scan, driver detective, etc), or blindly clicks on email links is just asking for a virus.
Don't get me wrong, I love Win 7 & have it running on my laptop and one desktop. However, the desktop that I use most frequently is running XP & I intend to keep using it until such time that I am convinced that it is more vulnerable than it was while MS was providing updates.
The majority of comments that I see about Win 7 is that people like it. Why doesn't MS offer a discount to XP users to upgrade to Win 7? I just went to MS website & they don't even sell Win 7 any longer - trying to force Win 8 on us. One of the big advantages of Win 8 for MS is that the COA is no longer printed on a sticker on the computer, but is embedded in the BIOS. What will be your options if you need to replace the motherboard - a very common occurrance in laptops? Unless MS comes up with an alternative means of activation, you will be buying another Windows disk.
Web sites not compatible with IE 8 - get Chrome or Firefox. Security Essentials(MS says it will continue to update it for another year) no longer supported - plenty of good, antivirus programs available. Other options - Mac or Ubuntu