Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: You can keep using XP for another year, but do you really want to?
While clinging to the 11-year-old OS after Microsoft issues its last security patch in April is defensible, the security risks are going to keep mounting
Computerworld - On April 8, Microsoft will pull the plug on Windows XP SP3 when it issues the final security patch for the 11-year-old operating system. So it's high time to switch to Windows 7, right?
Probably. But it's still going to be possible to hang on to XP for another year or so, and given the number of users still clinging to it, I'd guess a significant chunk will do so. But is that wise? Not really. Security risks are just going to keep mounting.
About those numbers: Net Applications states that in December, XP was still running on 29% of all desktop and laptop PCs. By some counts, XP still accounts for 32% of all Windows systems. That's a heck of a lot of users.
One reason users haven't switched is that Windows 8.x is garbage. There are others. One is that XP machines simply still do their job. I'm a big believer in the maxim, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," and many XP users believe that too.
Of course, Microsoft wants you to move to a newer version of Windows. If it can't talk you into Windows 8.x, it'll be OK with you moving to Windows 7. To help this process along, it's trying to scare you into moving by publicizing claims such as the one that XP-specific malware is going to jump by two-thirds. As for the OEMs, they'd like you to abandon XP too, but they'd be just as happy to see you shifting to Android PC or Chromebooks. They're not proud; they just want to sell new units.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft hasn't been quite so loud about what it's doing to make XP viable for another year. But it's going to continue to support its Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) on XP until July 14, 2015. The company will also be offering antivirus signatures for Security Essentials until mid-July 2015.
Meanwhile, most antivirus companies are going to continue to support XP for years to come. The top three Windows antivirus companies, by AV-Test's count, Kaspersky, BitDefender and Avira, have pledged to support consumers until 2018, January 2016 and April 2015, respectively.
It's true that Microsoft has already given up supporting its latest software on XP, but many other companies haven't. For example, while Internet Explorer 8 is the most recent Web browser Microsoft will give you for XP, Google will be supporting the newest versions of Chrome on XP until at least April 2015. Indeed, as far as I've been able to tell, no major company currently producing XP software plans on ending support for its programs anytime soon.
More by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Windows 7 lives!
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: You can keep using XP for another year, but do you really want to?
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Told you so! Microsoft backs off on Metro
- Steven J. Vaughan Nichols: Windows 9 in 2015: Desperation isn't pretty
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Lessons for IT from Windows 8/Metro
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: The Windows killer: Chromebook
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Amazon Drone: Stunt or service?
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Microsoft after Ballmer: Can this company be saved?
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: From Microsoft, more Windows fail
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: The Web at 20: What's in store over the next two decades?
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Windows White Papers | Webcasts