April 8, 2014 is becoming something of a doomsday date. That’s the day official support and updates stop for Windows XP. The OS is over 12 years old now, and a shocking number of computers still run it. After that date, the more dramatic tech commentators among us are expecting calamity as holes, bugs, and exploits will no longer be fixed by Microsoft. There’s a certain expectation that waves of malware will be introduced into the ecosystem, preying on folks who probably aren’t the tech-savviest users on the net.
Microsoft is in a difficult situation. As a profit generating corporation, they genuinely need more people to update to newer software and hardware. They also have a responsibility to not allow one of their most successful products to become a malware infested zombie hulk of an operating system. It’s a scary proposition as some estimates place XP at 30% of the consumer computing market. XP by itself still outpaces OSX and Linux combined in households. Microsoft would be perfectly within their rights to hold to their current support plans, but it would leave a lot of people in the lurch.
And this brings us to the current farce of moving the goal posts. Official support is still ending in April, but now Microsoft is announcing an extension to certificates and anti-malware support through July 14, 2015. This move could backfire, providing XP users a false sense of security. It’s not particularly clear how effective anti-malware support will be on an OS receiving no updates.
And those users might be in for a shock if the upgrade now. The move from XP to Win7, they still would’ve recognized most of how the OS was organized. Now a move to Windows 8 will be more of a culture shock on first boot. It’s a testament to how good XP was that so many people continue using it, but all good things must come to an end.
Full PR below:
Microsoft antimalware support for Windows XP
This does not affect the end-of-support date of Windows XP, or the supportability of Windows XP for other Microsoft products, which deliver and apply those signatures.
For enterprise customers, this applies to System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection and Windows Intune running on Windows XP. For consumers, this applies to Microsoft Security Essentials.
Our research shows that the effectiveness of antimalware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited. Running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today’s threat landscape.
Microsoft recommends best practices to protect your PC such as:
- Using modern software that has advanced security technologies and is supported with regular security updates,
- Regularly applying security updates for all software installed,
- Running up-to-date anti-virus software.
Our goal is to provide great antimalware solutions for our consumer and business customers. We will continue to work with our customers and partners in doing so, and help our customers complete their migrations as Windows XP end of life approaches.