I think it is fair to say that unless someone switched your internet off a year ago, we all know that Windows XP’s days are numbered.
The original plan by Microsoft was to end all support for this rather old, but much loved operating system on 8th April 2014. Which although the operating system would still work you would have to be a brave individual to plug it into the internet. It was reported last year that Windows XP hacks were already changing hands for around £1,500. So that was that, Windows XP c’est fin, no more software updates and more importantly no more security updates or patches.
However, Microsoft announced a bit of a change of plan last week, whether this is in response to the fact that an estimated 30% of PCs are still running XP, or the fact that Windows 8 has done more for Linux than it has their own sales, we will never know. But nonetheless on the 15th Jan, the following blog was published:
Microsoft has announced the Windows XP end of support date of April 8, 2014. After this date, Windows XP will no longer be a supported operating system*. To help organizations complete their migrations, Microsoft will continue to provide updates to our antimalware signatures and engine for Windows XP users through July 14, 2015.
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.
Now I ready this through a few times and pondered over a few drinks as to what sort of species an antimalware was!
However in plain English it seems to mean the following:
On the 8th April 2014 XP machines will no longer receive updates including security fixes and hot-fixes.
On the 14th July 2015 all XP malware support and updates will cease.
So in reality this Microsoft missive has caused a lot of confusion and not really changed a lot, except that your unsupported XP machine will be a little safer against malware.
The reality is if you are still running XP I would still suggest that moving to something else before the 8th April 2014 would be the safest bet.