The risks of staying with Windows XP after End Of Life

The Windows operating system commands 90% and the 11 year old Windows XP holds a chunk of it. StatCounter says Windows XP market share is around 19% whereas NetApplication says it is around 29%. Both have their own methodology of calculating this. Windows XP End of Life is fast approaching. The deadline for the lifecycle support for one of the most popular operating systems, the world has ever known in about to be reached. In less than 5 months, Microsoft will cease supporting the decade old operating system, Windows XP. While there are many people who still argue that the operating system isn’t completely dead yet, there are many critically important reasons why you need to take a call now about upgrading to a newer operating system like Windows 8, or even Windows 7 at least!

Windows XP End of Life risks

windows xp end of life The risks of staying with Windows XP after End Of Life

Windows XP is reaching End of Support in 2014 in 5 months. According to Microsoft, Windows XP Extended Support will end on 8th April 2014. Although the Mainstream Support ended on 14th Feb 2009, the Extended Support will end on 8th April 2014. This post explains in detail the difference between Mainstream Support and Extended Support. Windows Embedded products based on Windows XP, however, have different dates for End of Support.

Windows XP Product Lifecycle Support Policy The risks of staying with Windows XP after End Of Life

So what does this mean to the Windows XP user

Microsoft will stop providing security patches and updates to Windows XP SP3. The OS will be dead in the water, and with no support from Microsoft, it will become an open playground for hackers and malware pushers. Microsoft is very likely to even stop pushing updates to its security software Microsoft Security Essentials, which is being run on Windows XP. Will other antivirus software too, do the same? Who knows if they would want to take up the challenge of solely protecting an unsupported operating system – although some of them have said that they would continue to support their security software on Windows XP.

After the end-of-support, attackers could try and reverse engineer security updates to identify any other vulnerabilities that exist in Windows XP. Attackers could then have the advantage knowing very well that any exploits code they develop, will not be patched by Microsoft. This could even spark a frenzy among malware writers & hackers – all wanting to compromise Windows XP systems. Zero-days exploits could then remain effective for even months, before some 3rd-party software decided to patch them.

In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if hackers had already hoarded exploits and malware – and are just waiting till April 18th, to unleash their attacks, knowing very well, that Microsoft may not patch vulnerabilities after End of Life.

This alone makes it imperative that you now start thinking of upgrading to a newer operating system. Hey, I am not here to sell you Microsoft products. Feel free to switch to Mac or a Linux-based OS too. The point being – its time you let go of Windows XP!

Windows XP is like an old shoe, worn-in, cozy, comfortable, which no one wants to discard! Over a period of time, its been patched, patched and patched to make it what it is today! But its time to move on now! The past is dead ! The future, yet unborn ! Time to live in the present, I say!

Time to upgrade from Windows XP

Windows 8 is 21x more secure than Windows XP. But security isn’t the only reason Windows XP users need to move on. In fact, using a dated operating system has its shortcomings on various aspects of computing. There is no support for the latest versions of Microsoft Office, Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer and other Microsoft software.

1] Internet Explorer 11 is available only for Windows 8 & Windows 7, but no support for Windows XP or Windows Vista has been provided by Microsoft.

2] The productivity suite, Microsoft Office 2013 can’t run on a Windows XP machine. So if you are running Windows XP, you can only run up to Office 2010, which obviously is again, old and lacks many new features.

3] The default media player, Windows Media Player too can’t be updated to the latest version. The version 12th is only available for Windows 7 or higher OS.

4] Modern motherboards don’t support Windows XP. Since you are running a decade old operating system, odds are your computer hardware is very old too. There are two problems with having old hardware, one is, as the technology evolved, new software came in the market, and they all demand a powerful processor, a system which is capable of running them. So running them on a downgrade system will not exhibit the best of results and computing experience.

5] The other factor to consider here is again, the security aspect. There are two kinds of security protection you can have. One is, that is the most common, at software level. The other, the one which is quite popular nowadays is Security level at the hardware level itself. For instance, UEFI – Secure boot. So some hardware peripherals have security implementations right out-of-the-box, which lets it protect the integrity of the device and data protection. This feature obviously enhances the security of your system.

6] The new computers offer a better display, powerful processor, more storage, all-day battery life and compact design.

7] The scenario is quite similar at the software end as well. Most of your built-in tools would be outdated. Most of them can’t be updated or even worse, replaced by a 3rd party app. While Chrome and Firefox might will provide you support till next year, securing your system in toto would be next to impossible.

8] To make migration easier for Windows XP users, Microsoft has made available as a free download, PCmover Express for Windows XP, a data migration tool.

If you are still using Windows XP, we’d like to hear your point of view. Why do you still prefer to use Windows XP? Would you continue to use it even after April 2014? Or which OS do you plan to upgrade or move to? In case you plan to continue using it, there are a few steps you may take to try and secure Windows XP after End Of Support April 2014. Do also read our post on Windows XP End of Life recommendations – What next!?

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Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com. Please create a System Restore Point before trying out any software & be careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware. Add me on Google+.
  • Fr. Mark Wallace

    I’m still running Windows XP because the AMD chip I’m running on this ACER desktop can only handle XP AND my scanner and printer don’t have updates available for Windows 7 or 8.

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    I understand. Even in my office, on one of my desktops, I still use Windows XP because I need to run a particular software. But after Microsoft stops pushing security updates, I will have to take a call. You may have to, too. :)

  • http://www.yashmaheshwari.com/ Yash Maheshwari

    Hasn’t Microsoft provided the XP Mode from Windows 7 onwards to address such a situation?

  • http://www.kapilarya.com/ Kapil Arya

    ^^ I use Windows XP only on virtual hdds but whenever I’m out to any professional like photographer, cyber cafe, my college etc etc, the only thing I find similar is Windows XP. Basically these people have set their mind that nothing could be better than for them instead of it. This thing is already irritating Microsoft but I don’t think they’ve yet removed the XP culture completely.

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    My staff is not really well-equipped to get into all that. :)

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    True – Microsoft wants to reduce XP market share by half, the time Support ends, but it does seem difficult!

  • James Chambers

    I use Windows XP still on a Gateway computer I have, because that was the system that came with it I use that computer to store music and stuff on only. I don’t have it connected to the internet, so I’m not changing the OS on it. If it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it. That’s my outlook on it

  • disqus

    Andy,
    You and many other people on the net forget a simple fact: economics.
    Here in Venezuela a normal decent computer cost around the equivalent of $5000 US dollars and since we make 1/4 of what a person make(minimun wage) on the states, there is no easy way that we can replace that old machine.

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    I see your point James. If you are not connected to the net and if you are careful with the external USB or other devices you connect to your PC, you may not feel the need to upgrade.

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    Nope, I am aware of the economics. Its somewhat the same here in India and other developing countries too.

  • disqus

    Yes of course, I have clients that have 256 ram and after windows, the integrated video and sound using their share the machine only have 80-90 megs for programs on a 2005 hardware.

    Those folks can’t run windows 7 or buy a new machine.

    That is why people with means and/or knowledge have the moral obligation to help those folks to keep their system running despite the “dangers”, so the world and technology don’t left them behind for ever.

    It is only mi opinion.

    And I try to do my part.

  • Ryan

    I stick with it because it has this feeling to it the others don’t have. Maybe nostalgia but it has MS plus
    The XP theme I love because its a middle ground between Aero and Classic and works good for my intel card. Sadly can’t find a decent way of transferring my theme to 7.

    And doing my own benchmark windows 7 isn’t really that much of a leap in performance with both having updated drivers, Windows 7 just slightly handles my CPU better.

    I am sticking with XP Dualbooted with Linux and will move to Vista if needed.

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    Fair enough Ryan, but perhaps instead of Vista, you may want to consider Windows 7.

  • http://thewhizzer.blogspot.com/ Buck

    I agree is much better than Vista

  • Ryan

    Nope. I never had problems with the original vista, Sony has better drivers for Vista then 7 aswell. And I just like Vista. Windows 7 seems like a SP3 to me, even after reading the changelog, and the more detailed ones the programmers post.

  • http://thewhizzer.blogspot.com/ Buck

    If you like it well keep it then Ryan I think Anand has a valid point, ultimately it’s your choice

  • Alex

    I don’t know why everyone hates Vista and loves 7.. Come one guys, Windows 7 is just a fix for the bad reputation that Vista acquired for Windows, not because was bad but because it was different :)

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    I agree with you… I personally never faced any problems with Windows Vista. Windows 7 fixed not just the reputation, but also several glitches and poor user experiences, which many Vista users were facing. :)

  • Ryan

    Now I am just trying to understand, this is coming from a 16 year old power user. But what do you mean by well equipped? For me this would be a Weekend’s worth of work to do, I understand money issues and you got business to worry about, but I don’t know why this is so hard to do? XP mode is a the perfect solution for the driver issues. And if its performance your worried about use classic mode, or Linux which is vastly more secure, will have the drivers (if not better ones) and Libre office would be perfect. But this depends on what your office does.

    Not to press linux or anything, but when I run an IT business or such in the future, I will be ensuring the use of linux to prevent these issues.

  • Alex

    And do you questioned why? Because Vista was new. It runs on new NT Kernel, so this only means incompatible and/or non-working correctly drivers. Also, if we take a look at a mid range pc from 2006/7 and from 2009/10, we can se HUGE differences in terms of hardware, so this is another reason..

    P.S. You’re very objective person and those people are missing nowadays. Respect :)

  • http://thewhizzer.blogspot.com/ Buck

    It seems to me having used all these that 95 was better with
    97 {a few in between I know) then XP, still good then Vista, I helped in the
    Beta testing of that, like a fool bought it. I carried on came out until 7
    came out. I liked that still do notice the pattern? I bought the 1st
    8 release {it was not expensive then} I did not like it so wiped the drive
    clean and bought a win 7 professional OEM, I am happy. Just my opinion for what
    it’s worth

  • Vincent

    You can use XP Virtual PC (XP mode) in Windows 7. This will enable you to continue to use your older hardware/software. For Windows 8 you will have to use Hyper-V or a 3rd party VM software like Virtual Box or VMware. before you do, you need to virtualize and image your XP computer.

  • oblongcircles

    Why would they? The point is to get users to update/upgrade to newer/safer/faster computers. And make some money in the process. you don;t expect the maker of your car to keep making parts for decade old vehicles forever, so why do you expect computer hardware & software manufacturers to do so?

  • oblongcircles

    Easy to say for someone who does not have to foot the bill for the actual work to be done. no to mention software and hardware costs for the upgrades. Paying internal staff and/or a service to make these changes is not free. Most users in a corporate environment are not computer hobbyists and have neither the time nor inclination to sit and tinker with their work computers, especially not over the weekend. Think outside of your scope of experience and age. Better yet, since you are a young power user, why don’t you start a business to help companies do the upgrades? Not a bad idea actually. Then you can spend however many weekends and evenings it takes to do the work in an environment with 5, 10 or 100+ computers. Get some of your other power user friends to work for you.and all of you can make money and gain experience. good luck.

  • Crazy Bob

    Vista was & still is an abortion.
    That will never change.

  • Andrew Whitburn

    I have a CNC router that can only be used on Windows XP. Thankfully I don’t need to be connected to the internet so security isn’t an issue

  • Dick

    XP mode is in Windows 7 Pro or higher. I tried XP mode and it still won’t run the driver for my scanner. And a couple of programs I use a lot will not work in XP mode. I will just have to get use to using Windows 7 from now on. And I do run it in classic mode as I like it best.

  • Kevin

    I am an XP user and I use because some of those security features can get in the way and be more of a nuisance to those such as i that run on the NASCAR Racing 2003 Season Racing simulation. DEP (a feature on vista and newer) causes this game to crash, and thoughit is of course possible to disable DEP, UAC can make it near impossible to delete old folders (tracks, series,etc.) by saying you’re not an administrator (though your profile is the only one on the OS). XP is much easier to use and you’re not having to disable important security features. Will I run XP after support is discontinued? Maybe, but only for a few days While i get win7 on a separate hard drive and exchange files and figure out if my system’s hardware is up to par.

  • Chuba Ao

    In Short, the Microsoft is forcing everyone to spend more money by buying new version of its OS and also new powerful PC from its business partners Like, IBM, HP etc., The question is, where will the poor people from developing countries go? They can not afford to buy a new PC and OS every few months.

  • Qs

    You can use a linux distrubution such as ubuntu .

  • http://thewhizzer.blogspot.com/ Buck

    I’ve never really adapted to Linux I found it annoying keep putting your password in all the time

  • http://thewhizzer.blogspot.com/ Buck

    Here’s a link for you Amand enough said http://mentalfloss.com/article/54011/10-latin-phrases-people-pretend-understand. Personally I think you do a good job on here delete it please

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