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Does it matter that XP is going out of support?

Posted on 2013-11-26
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Last Modified: 2013-11-28
My customers are all in a tizzy about XP not being supported by Microsoft.  I don't think Microsoft ever supported it, so what's the big deal?  I'm telling my customers it probably doesn't matter at all. Do you buy a new car because yours has gone off warranty?  

My customers are older people who basically email, use picasa for pictures and use old versions of Word to write documents, though I do have a few small businesses and non-profits.  

Do you agree or am I telling my customers wrong?

Thanks,
Al

PS A small local paper interviewed me about my business.  I've uploaded it for your interest and enjoyment.  It gives my views on Win8 and other subjects.  It's called "Interview with a Geek".
Interview-with-a-Geek.doc
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Question by:alanlsilverman
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Miguel Angel Perez Muñoz earned 45 total points
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Before end of support date, you will not have any new update or feature. This causes new discovered bugs will not patched and causes massive infections as same as conficker or similar.
You will not have new versions of software, per example Internet explorer or .net framework.

Your computer will still run, but on this state, may have problems to get new software or may be more vulnerable to hack or viruses.
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by:Sumit Gupta
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If the people are using only these applications, then there is no impact by stopping  XP support. here is the link that gives you all the details what is the exact meaning and impact of stopping XP support by microsoft http://blogs.technet.com/b/security/archive/2013/08/15/the-risk-of-running-windows-xp-after-support-ends.aspx

So you can also detailed them with technical examples rather than Cars example so that they can have a good reason to stop arguing on this issue ;)

Also you can convince them to upgrade their systems which can be good for your business too and why to upgrade its also explained in the same article using example.

Here is the short brief from this article. (Recommended to read full article from link)

There is a sense of urgency because after April 8, Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.  This means that any new vulnerabilities discovered in Windows XP after its “end of life” will not be addressed by new security updates from Microsoft.  Still, I have talked to some customers who, for one reason or another, will not have completely migrated from Windows XP before April 8.  I have even talked to some customers that say they won’t migrate from Windows XP until the hardware it’s running on fails.

What is the risk of continuing to run Windows XP after its end of support date?  One risk is that attackers will have the advantage over defenders who choose to run Windows XP because attackers will likely have more information about vulnerabilities in Windows XP than defenders.

Good luck!

Sumit
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by:Mahesh
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As long as you are using old applications, you do not face any issue with XP
(Example Computers at home \ office without internet)
For company \ organizations, if they wanted new business, then must adopt new features functionality with new technology, they don't have any option other than upgrade in that case.

Mahesh
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by:John Hurst
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The analogy of the car and an operating system is flawed. Manufacturers and parts makers keep parts going for years. I only drive out of warranty automobiles.

Operating systems are different. No support means it is difficult to rebuild and patch an operating system with no patches available. Also, vendors are starting to write software that is not supported on XP.

So long as the computer is working, you can keep running.

You should tell your customers that as they corrupt their computers (common) or the computers break (common), they should replace their computers. To that end, you should ensure they are backing up their email and data.

I understand your views on Windows 8, but I have Windows 8.1 up and running desktop only. I can beat any operating system into submission and run it my way and that is what I did with Windows 8 / 8.1

We need to learn how to use these systems so as to help people and not hide from progress.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:rindi
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Particularly by using email and surfing the web, those users are in very acute danger of getting malware, and after support has ended that danger will rise daily, as no windows updates will be published to close any security holes found up to then. If the PC's weren't online, then the problem would be small, but online...

You absolutely MUST either update to Windows 7, or install a Linux Distro instead (many distro's are easier to move over to from XP users than to newer m$ OS's), or have them upgrade the hardware if they need to go for Windows 8.
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by:alanlsilverman
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Thinkpads_User,

Is Windows 8.1 internally better/more efficient/more secure than Win7?  

I'm right now working on a Win8 computer for a customer but I have installed Classic Shell for their use.  Is there some tutorial you could point me to on using Win8 native?  Can I do everything on it, adjusting and adding things just like with this Win7 machine I'm now on?  

If you are a reader of humorist Dave Barry, here's his blog on Win8.

Thanks,
Al
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by:Giovanni Heward
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The primary consideration is that Windows XP will no longer be patched.  Whenever a security vulnerability is disclosed in the future, all XP machines will remain vulnerable.

Your recommendation will expose your clients to additional risk, and remote compromise will only be a matter of time.

It would be in your clients best interests to propose that they upgrade.  Perhaps you can receive additional compensation by performing those upgrades.

Whether or not you decide to propose upgrading, at the very minimum you should suggest installation of EMET to mitigate against future threats (its free.)

Recommending a product such as Invincea FreeSpace and OpenDNS will significantly reduce their exposure further.

It would also be wise to perform regular backups, so when their system is compromised you can rapidly restore lost data.
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by:alexziv
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applications get fast changing(better look,fast responding etc), and os like Xp seems to not support them anymore, you can step by step moving to other platform, if you use just picasa etc. you can make use of ubuntu, if you still want keep .exe applications a step by step windows7 upgrade is a need. this means you can upgrade on period of time a system by another.
if you have 10 system than this month you cand upgrade 1-2 -3  systems or more depending of your money system.
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by:Giovanni Heward
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Is your errors and omssions (E&O) insurance coverage current?
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by:alanlsilverman
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Is your general business liability insurance current?

Yes.
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by:rindi
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The above isn't completely correct. In Linux you can use wine to run many windows applications, sometimes they will even run better than under Windows. There are some tools like "PlayOnLinux" which help you to get those programs installed easily. But of course not every windows program will also run. But usually there is no need for that as there are normally plenty of good Linux alternatives for those apps.
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by:Giovanni Heward
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Make sure you have errors and omissions coverage in addition to general liability, with suggestions such as this you're increasing your legal liability.
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by:DanCh99
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"I don't think Microsoft ever supported it"... have you never seen a microsoft patch???

Anyone who ever goes online, or gets email, after the end of March is taking their IT life in their hands.  If your users are utterly standalone, and they're happy to live like this until their hardware dies irrevocably, leave them be.

I'd say that's a tiny percentage of users these days.  Everyone else needs an upgrade plan.  And make sure they back up!

And don't forget that the bad guys know that MS will release no more patches, so if they do find a hole, they can exploit it forever.  

The only way to take your car analogy further is to say that after the XP end-of-life date,  there will be no more fixed pot holes, repaired street lights, punctures, fixed wind shields, white lines, etc.  If it gets broke, it stays broke.
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by:John Hurst
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Is Windows 8.1 internally better/more efficient/more secure than Win7?

Yes. Actually I find browsing faster and the machine in general faster. I have a Windows 7 Pro 64-bit Desktop in my home office whereas my ThinkPad is a Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit laptop.

The Windows 7 machine is fine and I put more memory in it. But the Windows 8 machine is faster.

I do not use Classic Shell or Start8. I force 8.1 to start to the desktop and put my Start Menu in the system tray. Works fine.

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:aadih
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Does it matter that XP is going out of support?

Yes.  It does matter.

(Continuing using it as a standalone machine (no Internet connection) is a-okay.)
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by:garycase
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A bit of counterpoint to the negative tide above => I think it's just fine to keep using XP if you're an older use who just does e-mail, a bit of surfing,  an occasional office doc or spreadsheet with Office 2003 or so, and a few pictures with Picassa.    I know quite a few folks who use their older systems for exactly that.   Note that although XP updates will no longer be produced, antivirus products will still work -- and the vendors will still be updating their definitions.   It's not like systems are suddenly going to be unprotected on the EOL date.

But I definitely suggest you IMAGE those systems and keep a copy of the image [either on a server of your own at home (best), or on a 2nd drive (or partition) on the customer's computer].    Be sure they have good data backups (as everyone should of course -- Carbonite makes this painless for folks) ... and then if they DO happen to get a nasty infection that would otherwise require a reload, you simply restore the image; restore their most current data; and all is well.

Notwithstanding that, I do agree that it's better if you gently suggest migrating to a system that can run Windows 7 (which I agree is a better choice for most folks than '8).
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by:nobus
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i even disable windows updates for all my clients, who are not computer wizards
never had any problems !
so let them use XP for 10 more years (if the rest of the software allows it)
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by:alanlsilverman
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i even disable windows updates for all my clients, who are not computer wizards
never had any problems !

nobus,
Yes, I regularly do the same.  I suppose it has to do with your customer base.  I have wealthy customers who basically pay for my working on the computers of people who have very little money.  Everyone needs a computer these days and turning off everything possible on an old XP computer (along with good antivirus and anti-malware) can mean the difference between a family having a computer and not having one.

This has been a tremendously useful discussion.  I'm closing this but anyone else who has something to say please add it.
Thanks to all and have a Happy Thanksgiving.
Al
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by:McKnife
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It all comes down to what we focus on.

Will we be able to use picasa (a picture viewer) as we use it right now on the same xp box in ten years from now? Of course.
Will we be as secure in terms of availability of security patches? Of course not.

But does that mean we are less secure if we only use it with Picasa?
It depends and this is even complicated: picasa does use parts of the OS to handle the pictures (decompress, draw...) - and those parts can of course be vulnerable to malicious content (let's be so cruel and think of a manipulated jpeg finding its way to one of your customer's hard drives)...
They open the jpeg and bang! - infected. All of a sudden, the peaceful old lady is now part of a botnet just because she used a viewer on an unpatched xp.
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by:nobus
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well - in all the years i spent repairing PC's, i found as much infected  ones with up to date  ones, and one not updating. It depends more on the way they use the net, and the sites you visit
of course , in a network system, updates is a must

alan, i'm happy to find someone agreeing with me on this
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by:McKnife
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Nobus, have you ever read a Microsoft SIR? Do it, it really shows quite the opposite. And these guys do indeed have lots of "material" for statistics, not hundreds of computers, but millions. http://www.microsoft.com/security/sir/default.aspx
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by:nobus
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No - but it does not change my view.
of course MS will say that it is needed (why would they make the updates for otherwise?)
and you can prove that with the updates you have indeed less possibility of infection - but that does not matter at all for my clients
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by:McKnife
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Sorry, this view is very short sighted for reasons given in my first comment.
On the other hand: there are people (like my own parents, for example) that simply never expose themselves to any online danger - of course with those, they could run xp forever without getting infected. :) So here again, I partly agree.
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by:nobus
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McKnife, as you can see from my post, i also agree partly with you
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by:Giovanni Heward
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At the risk of creating the notion that I'm off topic, I invite you to consider the following scenario.

Imagine a group of human beings sitting around a large round table.  In the middle of the table is a large cube, featuring a solid color on each side.  One individual sees the cube as being blue, and across from him another person sees the cube as being white.

Do to the nature of the experience, those sitting next to these individuals share the same perspective of the cube.  This becomes very validating and reenforcing over time.  Oftentimes, once sufficient "evidence" of a given view is obtained, each tends to become fixed in their perspective-- as it's well "proven" and "validated."  Some remain so fixed in a certain perspective they create "higher education" and other credentials dedicated to the cause, so all those sharing in the same perspective can become further validated, educated, and committed, to that perspective.

The blue observers make the white observers wrong, and vice versa.  Both decry the other isn't getting it, that they must be blind, judgmental, egotistical, inept, or __________ (fill in the blank).  Both experience the cube as the way it "is".   The cube "is" blue.  The cube "is" white.  In reality, each perspective is an "occurring" and each interpretation of the "facts" (the cube "is" white, the cube "is" blue) is an interpretation only, and not the truth.

While each perspective has a degree of truth, none is complete due to the (self evident) limitations of our design.  Over time we can play "musical chairs" and switch seating positions.  We find those sitting at angles which agree with our view and introduce us to another.  "Hey from here, I see blue and green!  Move down a couple seats and check this out."

The temptation however it to get too comfortable in a given seat.  Too comfortable making everyone else wrong, and getting the "payoff" (being "right", dominating, justified, victim, superior, etc.).  Every payoff comes with a cost to which we're often blind.  That cost is huge and is affinity, love, peace, joy, quality relationships, etc.

Tying this all back into the question at hand.  All suggestions are valid and well proved from the perspective in which they were formed.  Each features its own degree of "truth."

So please do not misinterpret my comments or suggestions.  They certain were not made in the spirit of proving anyone wrong, or that I'm right, or superior, or ___________ (fill in the blank.)

My personal intention behind my comments are to enlarge perspective, considerations, and to contribute.  Why?  Not to feel superior, etc.   The answer is simple.  I choose to be a contributor.  I choose to consider and honor all perspectives.  This is a practice and I will never claim to be perfect at it or anything else.
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