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XP OS no longer supported by Microsoft - What the users should know

Posted on 2014-03-18
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Last Modified: 2014-03-25
Hi,
  I recently hear a lot of chatter about XP OS being expired in April 2014 and Microsoft will stop supporting XP operating system.
  What does that really mean to an individual users or corporate users with XP OS on their computers?

   None of my users will call Microsoft for support, they call me. So I just don't see the reason for people to abandon XP OS just because MS will stop supporting it.
  Maybe MS will stop making fixes or Service Packs, but if the software is running fine with current SP, why would it be necessary to upgrade OS?

Thanks.
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Question by:sglee
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Juan Ocasio earned 39 total points
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that means no more service packs or security updates,  You;ll still be able to use it, but you're on your own.
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by:Dan Craciun
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Security.
Microsoft will stop plugging security holes in XP (although they will keep Security Essentials available for a while).

The fear is that some exploits are kept undisclosed until April and then they will be widely used as Microsoft will no longer patch the OS.

HTH,
Dan
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by:Dan Craciun
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BTW, my stand on the whole "XP dies, we need to throw money at Microsoft" craziness is the following: XP dies with the workstations it's installed on.

I did not install XP on any new computer in the last 3 years and I will switch from XP to Windows 7 when I replace the computers.
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by:piattnd
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Summary:
Microsoft will no longer send out updates, including security or functional updates.

This also means that multiple software vendors may no longer troubleshoot issues their software has if you are running on Windows XP, as it is no longer directly supported by Microsoft.  This varies by vendor and you should contact your software vendors to confirm if that is the case.

Additionally, if the company has to maintain compliance to any security standards, most of that compliance will fail once the operating system is no longer supported or receiving security updates.  You will need to understand the security obligations of your organization(s) to understand whether that applies to them or not.
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by:dbrunton
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>>  What does that really mean to an individual users or corporate users with XP OS on their computers?

>>  Maybe MS will stop making fixes or Service Packs, but if the software is running fine with current SP, why would it be necessary to upgrade OS?

Most threats to their systems come either by mail or surfing the Internet.

For surfing get them to use either Chrome (preferably) or Firefox.  That will stop most threats.

For email a switch to Thunderbird if possible.  Not always possible.

Make sure they have a good firewall and anti-virus in place.  And educate them on opening up strange email or clicking on strange links or installing unknown software.  No Java as well.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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So in my professional opinion as someone who cares about my client's security and not wanting to go into offices with growing frequency to clean infections, the expiration of support should be considered an expiration of the OS.

Windows code is based on previous versions of Windows code.  When a bug is found in Windows 8 there's a good chance it exists in Windows 7 and Vista and XP.  Starting in April, when a bug is found, it will be patched in Windows 8, 7, and Vista and it's patching will be publicized.  Hackers - knowing there are MANY MANY people who don't understand how Windows has evolved and are therefore using XP, will start exploiting the holes fixed in newer systems but existing in older.  You/your company/your clients will be at a rapidly increasing risk of virus infection, identity theft, intellectual property theft, and lost productivity that will QUICKLY exceed whatever you/your clients may perceive as an economic benefit of staying with antiquated technology.

Just my opinion.
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by:sglee
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Thanks for your opinion regarding the issue.
I can summarize what was said above in two categories: (1) Security  (2) Vendor Support

As to Security patches/updates, here is my take. With all the windows updates & service packs, Microsoft could not protect their computers running on any desktop OS (XP, Win7) from virus / malware infections. That is even true with additional software such as Norton Antivirus or McCafee. So I wonder how the computers will be more venerable after April than before. I have been almost cynical about their security updates as to how ineffective they have been. Same thing can be said about browsers. No browser is immune to malware attacks. Just about the only OS that is immune from most viruses or malware attacks have been Apple laptops & desktops.

(2) Vendor Support issue by piattnd  ... this is the area that I did not give much thought to, but it is entirely possible that software vendor might hesitate to help you if their software is running on XP OS.

In conclusion, if the user uses the computer for WORD/EXCEL/IE, I will not go extra miles to raise a red flag. But if they are running a third party applications software, I will talk  the software vendor regarding their commitment to their customers with XP OS.

Thanks you all.
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by:piattnd
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The security compliance but is pretty big too, though I'm not sure if that applies to your client base.  Just making sure you got that part as well.  Good luck!
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by:sglee
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@piattnd,
That is true as one of my clients bank has very strict compliance rules.
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by:web_tracker
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I think the media hype to promote the user to go to a so called more secure operating system is blown out of proportion. There are literally thousands of computers that users never install windows updates and they have never been infected. So just because M$ will no longer create updates for the operating system, does it present more of a risk for the people who never install updates? I don't think so. MS just wants to make more money by putting out operating systems such as window 8 that thousands of people hate and will never go to the newest operating system. Many will go to windows 7, if they buy a new computer.
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by:sglee
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@web_tracker
You're preaching to the choir!

(1) There are literally thousands of computers that users never install windows updates and they have never been infected.--> how true that is
(2) does it present more of a risk for the people who never install updates? I don't think so. --> couldn't agree more.
(3) MS just wants to make more money ---> surprise surprise.
(4) window 8 that thousands of people hate --> I will never deploy Win8 in corporate environment or for anyone that I am personally supporting.
(5) Many will go to windows 7, if they buy a new computer. --> Basically that is what I have been doing.
If I may add my 2cents input about Windows 8 ... this reminds of what WORDPERFECT did back in early 90s.
As they were loosing their dominance (thanks to Wordperfect DOS) in word processor market when MS introduced MS WORD in GUI, they felt the heat. They were loosing market share to MS slowly but surely. So when they introduced WP5.1 or 5.2 where they wanted to show GUI, but maintain functionality of good old DOS interface in one package. In my opinion, that approach was a mistake. They should have introduced two separate packages - keep their popular DOS version and make GUI version available in addition.
I see something similar here with Win8/8.1. MS was feeling the heat from Tablet makers and in a hurry they introduced a new OS that does both. The smart thing to do was to introduce "complete tablet OS" as Win8 and keep Win7 functionality in another version of Win8 for people (like us in the support field). I simply does not see much advantage of going with Win8.1 either.
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by:web_tracker
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On all new computers that we deploy at the university where I work have windows 7, also if we reimage a system due to a corrupted operating system we will image it with Windows 7. But we still have at least a couple hundred users who still have windows xp on their machines. We do not plan to migrate all these users to windows 7 any time soon. If they need a rebuild it will be with windows 7, or if they purchase a new system from out department it will come with windows 7.  I think MS has had issues with every second operating system that they rolled out since windows 95. When windows 95 first came out there were so many issues with it, then windows 98 came out to address these issues. Then when windows ME came out there were lots of problems with this operating system so they created windows xp to resolve those issues, windows xp was the most stable operating system that MS made up to that point, that is why so many people have a hard time breaking away from it. Then vista came out that also had so many issues so they developed windows 7. Which is probably the best operating system to date.  Now window 8 or 8.1, people are greatly disappointed with the interface of this operating system, which I agree was designed for a tablet user, someone with a touch screen. This operating system is not an operating system we will deploy in a business environment.  Hopefully the next operating system will improve, the foolish direction of MS.
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by:dbrunton
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Some comments

>>  As they were loosing their dominance (thanks to Wordperfect DOS) in word processor market when MS introduced MS WORD in GUI, they felt the heat. They were loosing market share to MS slowly but surely. So when they introduced WP5.1 or 5.2 where they wanted to show GUI, but maintain functionality of good old DOS interface in one package. In my opinion, that approach was a mistake. They should have introduced two separate packages - keep their popular DOS version and make GUI version available in addition.

They did.  They had a WordPerfect 6 DOS version.  You can still buy WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS.  And there was a Windows WordPerfect 6 version as well.

They were late to the Windows GUI market and Word 6 offered better functionality and features.  For the average user Word 6 was better.  For the power user Worderfect was much better.

>>  That is true as one of my clients bank has very strict compliance rules.

That will force an upgrade.
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by:BillDL
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There is an issue that has been overlooked here, and it is an important one.

Microsoft is not the only company issuing security patches.  Adobe issues regular updates and in-between patches for Acrobat Reader, Flash Player and Shockwave Player, and Anti-Virus applications and other non-Microsoft software are patched when vulnerabilities are reported or detected.  The vendors are continually being alerted to security flaws that have, or would have been at some point, used by malware, and they patch those holes.  At some point these vendors will no longer support Windows XP and users will be stuck with a final compatible version of the software that can no longer be updated or patched.

It is for this reason that Microsoft will continue to release updates for Microsoft security Essentials on Windows XP for a year beyond the end of support for XP.  They will only be allowing users to download the actual application until the end date of XP support though.

Some viruses take advantage of the manner in which Windows, or the browser, or both, allow supported file types to be opened in the respective applications.  Just as Lee Wilbur was saying earlier, once a security hole is patched and the reasons for the patch are explained, then it stands to reason that the same unpatched hole probably existed in the earlier application version that is left running in an unpatched state on all the Windows computers and malware writers will be fully aware of this fact.

It is a false assumption that Google Chrome or Firefox are immune from malware.  I have just spent more than half a day cleaning up sneaky malware that ran unprompted in Chrome, downloaded loads more, and affected add-ons and extensions in IE, Chrome, and Firefox.  OK, so it wasn't a terribly nasty piece of malware in functionality, but it dug in quite deep and required quite a lot of manual registry work.

I agree that there has been a lot of hype to induce fear, but many of the facts given by Microsoft and security experts do have some substance that should not be ignored.

sglee, it sounds from your responses as though your question was just a rhetorical one.
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by:nobus
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why would you need to upgrade ?
reasons :  all other applications and updates will make applications bigger - and the system will run slower.
the applications won't support xp much longer  either, and maybe the older devices and drivers will cause problems also
that does not mean you have to switch now, or in a year - that depends on the use.
but it is wise to make an IMAGE of all systems, so you can return easily and fast to warking system - if anything happens
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by:web_tracker
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I am not trying to say that the lack of updates for the security holes in a person's system is not going to affect anyone. I was just trying to make a point that the media hype about upgrading to another operating system is blown out of proportion. Of course there is a risk otherwise the various software companies would not be creating patches for their software. The media is trying to scare people into believing once there is no longer any support, some how the person's computer is no longer going to work... and I have a concern about that. The computer is going to work fine unless their system was the one that was exploited by the security hole. Many systems that people are using that use xp will not be able to run an operating system such as windows 7. Just yesterday I was exposed to an old PIII computer that had windows xp, to operate some type of lab equipment. The lab could buy a new computer, but then the computer will not have the serial ports, needed to run the lab equipment as well the software does not run on windows 7.  To replace the lab equipment it would cost the lab around $50, 000. Now just because the computer is out dated and can only run windows xp what is the user supposed to do.

The media is trying to scare people in upgrading.... so we can fill MS coffers.
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by:BillDL
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If the lab equipment is not connected to the Internet, doesn't have USB Flash Drives being inserted and retracted all the time, has no need for email or browser activity, and all unnecessary services are disabled and ports closed, then there should be no significant issues.
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by:nobus
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i agree with web tracker; i never set the xp systems for normal users to update, since they cause more trouble than they cure.
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by:BillDL
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Thank you sglee
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