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 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

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!?

Read: Windows 10 End of Support.

Posted by on , in Category General with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. 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.

  2. 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. 🙂

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

  4. ^^ 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.

  5. My staff is not really well-equipped to get into all that. 🙂

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

  7. 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

  8. disqus

    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.

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

  14. I agree is much better than Vista

  15. 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.

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

  17. 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 🙂

  18. 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. 🙂

  19. 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.

  20. 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 🙂

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. 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?

  24. 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.

  25. Crazy Bob

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

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. Qs

    You can use a linux distrubution such as ubuntu .

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

  32. Here’s a link for you Amand enough said Personally I think you do a good job on here delete it please

  33. Tom

    Vista was ahead of the times!Not enough drivers and mother boards didn’t have the memory for vista.I still use vista today and no problems running it.I also use windows 7 on the same computer as vista.

  34. thelicencee

    Why is it that companies like microsoft, british gas etc that make mega millions in profit, still want to squeeze every last penny out of consumers.

    When microsoft ‘ended their support’ so making the software ‘obsolete’ why did they not just ‘GIVE ALL OF ITS LOYAL XP USERS A ****FREE**** UPGRADE TO WINDOWS 7’ this to has already been ‘superseded by windows 8’ so would NOT have been any LOSS to MS, and would have given the company a lot more credibility. My wife and I are still using XP and as we are on a ‘PENSION’ we can NOT afford to pay the ridiculous prices MS want for their ‘NEW’ software, and how long before their ‘NEW SOFTWARE’ becomes outdated and users have to fork out even more money to ‘KEEP UP WITH THE TIMES’. Why don’t we just have our ‘PENSION’ paid straight to MS, so we can ‘KEEP UP WITH THE TIMES’, everybody now wants things done ‘ONLINE’ so without the ‘latest software etc’ how are the ‘ordinary folk’ supposed to ‘KEEP UP WITH THE TIMES’. We cant even check our gas and electric accounts without ‘going online’ as well as ALL of the other companies that are ‘ONLINE COMPANIES ONLY’ like ‘car insurance, delivery companies, hospital appointments and the list goes on and on and on………….ad infinitum.

    So come on MS, stop TAKING ALL OF THE TIME AND ”’GIVE SOMETHING BACK”’ ITS NOT AS THOUGH YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT. I would wager that there were ‘millions of Windows 7 Software CD Roms with ALL of the SP’ chucked into bins at thousands of your retailers. So why not let the ‘underprivileged’ have these for a ‘NOMINAL 1p WITH A TOTALLY ***FREE*** ACTIVATION CODE’. just think of ‘all the £s those 1p’s would make on a ***WORLD WIDE SCALE***’ and it would certainly give MS a better ‘market profile’ than it currently has.
    Does MS NOT have a ‘CUSTOMER CARE DEPARTMENT’ with the emphasis being on the ‘CARE FOR THE CUSTOMER’ side?????.
    Simple logic if you ask me, but then again big companies ‘ALWAYS FORGET THE SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE, AS THEY GET TOO GREEDY’.
    If you need someone to organise these ‘SIMPLE TASKS’ I am available to bring back the ‘CUSTOMER CARE’ to MS.



  35. thelicencee

    Just as an ‘optimistic enquiry’, does anyone have a ‘genuine windows CD Rom of a ”newer version of windows than our current XP” or know where I can ‘download a ”newer version of windows than our current XP” with the ”product activation code” and any SP that are required, for ”FREE”??
    All I ask is **please** keep any ‘instructions’ relating to ‘downloads and installation’ as ‘simple as possible’ as I am not very ‘pc savvy’ and my wife has only recently got to grips with using her email account.
    Many Thanks

  36. Paul it’s not just that simple did you buy your XP? I merely
    bought windows 7 if I bought mine why should you want this for nothing; most
    honest users purchase their copies. I am an old age pensioner like you so what,
    you are living in the wrong country mate. Many people are in a worst position
    than you; take countries like India, South America etc. who still have XP
    because they too can’t afford a new O/S get Linux a free computer system
    and your problem is solved. One cannot just go around putting an OEM of windows
    7 they are meant for one computer only, it could work as I live in Australia
    the thing is why should I ? I hope you get the point!!

  37. graham dixon

    Good advice for youngsters.

  38. graham dixon

    Fair enough, a common sense argument. Nice to see CDF is alive & kicking.

  39. graham dixon

    I’m confused? even if only to comment on this, u don’t need internet?

  40. graham dixon

    Have no choice, no other options,

  41. Mike Walsh.

    I’m lucky. The system I have was a very powerful one for running Microsoft Windows XP. But in April of this year, I moved to Linux (with a wee bit of trepidation, I’ll admit), and am now running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, the long-term support version. It does everything XP used to do,…..and THEN some. I’m glad I made the move, despite being a stalwart XP user since it first came out. The peace of mind that comes from having a fully-supported system can’t be put into words…..and of course, Linux is TOTALLY malware- and virus-free, too; no need to faff about with antivirus!! BRILLIANT. Give it a try…’ll be quite surprised. Linux is no longer just for ‘geeks’…

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