If you haven’t yet heard, Microsoft is formally ending support for computers running Windows XP, and Office 2003 on April 8th, 2014. Although this date has been announced for some time, we know a considerable number of people who still rely on systems using XP. Read more to find out about what this means to your organization.
Windows XP End-of-Life : What changes?
Although formal support will end for XP and Office 2003, systems will continue running indefinitely. The main changes to expect with XP’s end-of-life event are :
- No further operating system patches – Patches keep Windows up to date and at least reasonably protected from malicious attacks. With no further updates being released by Microsoft, XP and Office will become increasingly insecure and vulnerable to 3rd party malware and viruses.
- Microsoft Security Essentials will be discontinued for XP – Microsoft’s widely used anti-virus program, and its underlying “Windows Defender” software will no longer be updated. Paired with a lack of new operating system patches, this will only make XP even less attractive to the businesses which rely on it. Luckly (and somewhat bewilderingly), Microsoft just announced (Jan 15, 2014) they would continue releasing updates for MSE until July 14th, 2015.
Analysis and Next Steps
So, what is a responsible business owner to do? The answer, we think, is not simple. A great number of the world’s computers (an estimated 28%) still rely on XP. Integrated systems also tend to rely on XP, as it is a proven and stable development platform. Practically all U.S. ATMs, for instance, are reported to use the operating system. So, the chance Microsoft will extend support for XP is likely – a notion their Jan 15th announcement supports. And others in the community have expressed their disbelief about the true impact of XP’s ‘death’ as well.
But, all the same – while we won’t preach doom and gloom – it does make sense to begin migrating critical business systems from XP to a newer operating system – and of course, we’re here to help.