windows xp retirement

Starquest321
Starquest321 used Ask the Experts™
on
It's hard to grasp that Microsoft actually went through with this lifecycle. There are millions of people still on the OS. What can we do about anti-virus? Are there any options to keep XP still running?
Comment
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Gareth GudgerSolution Architect
Most Valuable Expert 2014
Top Expert 2014
Commented:
Typically when Microsoft drops support for a piece of software, many tier 1 vendors follow shortly after. Symantec still makes EndPoint Protection and its Norton products available for XP. But unsure how long that will continue.

Windows 7 is a nice step up. It really works pretty much the same as XP and all my business customers have been transitioning to Windows 7 with ease. The learning curve has been minimal for them. The bigger learning curves are usually around Office.

With regard to lifecycle? How long did you expect Microsoft to reasonably support this OS? It is 12 years old.

Author

Commented:
"If it works don't break it"
Now we have to upgrade hardware...software ... a big mess. What are the serious risks for still using it?
Gareth GudgerSolution Architect
Most Valuable Expert 2014
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
Well the bigger risk is the lack of security updates from Microsoft. Is someone finds a glaring hole in the operating system then you are on your own. And at the mercy of anyone that tries to exploit it (hacker, virus writer, etc.).

Also, over time you will find less and less people familiar with XP.

The other thing is Internet Explorer. I believe the highest version XP had released for it was IE8. So, I would recommend switching to Firefox or Chrome for all your internet browsing. But its uncertain how long those vendors will continue to write browsers for XP.
Ensure you’re charging the right price for your IT

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden using our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Start calculating Now!

Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014
Commented:
I'm still running XP on a dozen machines.  Avast anti-virus is still working fine and saying it supports Windows XP.  I've been using Firefox for years as my main browser because it stays up to date and is much faster than IE8 on the same pages.  I also use Chrome for some other things and it's even faster than Firefox.

You should realize that Microsoft like all other companies has to make things to sell to stay in business.  Windows XP does not make them any money anymore so they are unwilling to spend money supporting it anymore.  I have working computers back to windows 3.1 and MSDOS 6.22 that still make me money that I keep running.  But when you want the 'new stuff', you got to get a new machine.
Top Expert 2016
Commented:
Microsoft did not suddenly spring this on people, they warned people for years that XP had a definite time limit for updates. I'm not sure whether or not it was 2-3 years (if not more) lead time was given. Right now every version of Internet Explorer is venerable to a 0-day exploit that is currently in the wild
Commented:
That's Life
Gareth GudgerSolution Architect
Most Valuable Expert 2014
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
I'm not sure whether or not it was 2-3 years (if not more) lead time was given.

@David Johnson
Microsoft actually releases a lifecycle for the product the moment it releases. Check out this site. Windows 8.1 already has a end of support date for 2023. They aren't surprising anyone. You know from day one when support ends.

https://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?sort=PN&alpha=windows+8.1&Filter=FilterNO

Windows 7 is 2020.
https://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?sort=PN&alpha=windows+7&Filter=FilterNO
Top Expert 2013
Commented:
it is merely a business decision - worth billions $$
i find it strange that right after stopping XP support  - they find a hole in IE (for all OS) and for XP it won't be fixed.  that looks like a "gentle" nudge to upgrade to me
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

Commented:
I thought that was suspicious timing on finding that hole myself.
That was to be expected. Possibly the hole was already discovered before xp support stopped but was kept under the hat by the persons who discovered it until xp support stopped...
OT:
You could cut off internet access to your xp machines and place them behind a secured proxy server. That way you don't have to rely on XP support but still keep it a bit safer.
Most Valuable Expert 2015
Commented:
M$'s Security essentials will keep on getting definition updates for XP for at least an year. From other AV companies you can expect at least the same time frame during which they will support their XP product. As mentioned above it is the windowsupdates and missing security patches that will eventually cause the most problems. Those are things neither AV nor Anti-Malware products will be able to protect against.

You don't have to change the hardware to upgrade to Windows 7. Windows 7 runs faster and in most cases won't need any other hardware than XP. In some rare cases where you are using a really old printer you might need to get a new one. Besides that, if you use the pro version (or above) of Windows 7, you can install the free Windows XP mode, which is Windows Virtual PC along with an XP VM which you can run within Windows 7 (you'll just need enough RAM to run both OS's at the same time). This allows you to keep on running old software or use old printers. But keep in mind that the same problems will apply to XP mode as they do for a Physical XP PC, no updates, and so less secure daily. Also, you'll probably have to hurry up with downloading it, as I don't know how long those downloads will still be available from m$.

Also, it has been known for several years now that XP support would end this April. So everyone that was still using XP had more than enough time to prepare for this, and change to software that runs under modern OS's, and also change peripheral hardware that wasn't compatible with those OS's anymore. So I don't think there is any valid excuse for holding on to XP.

If you don't want to buy a new OS for your XP PC's, or if you don't want to upgrade the hardware and get a new OS with the upgrade, you can also easily install Linux on those PC's. Most Linux distributions are free, many will run faster on old hardware than XP used to, most of them are very complete and don't need any more drivers or software other than what is already included out of the box, and they are very easy to use, even if you haven't used Linux before. In some cases it is even easier to learn to use than moving from XP to Windows 7, let alone to Windows 8.x...
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
but - if they continue this way - they will force everybody on XP to use another browser - and that will cost them more in the end - right?
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
They don't want XP to be kept in use. The browser is irrelevant. Besides, you live in Europe anyway, where you get the "Browser Choice" with your Windows updates, and as IE was never any good anyway, I have been using that since it was introduced to install firefox and make it the default browser on every Windows PC.

I never use IE unless forced to (like on XP where it was required to run Windowsupdates), or when held at gunpoint...

Author

Commented:
Love the thread! Keep talking...I am learning... we need to increase the point count here lol
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
"If it works don't break it" ==> Agree !

"... Now we have to upgrade hardware...software ... a big mess. What are the serious risks for still using it? "

==>  For personal use, there's little real risk.   MSE will actually continue to work fine for at least a year; HOWEVER, it will always show a RED status, so you have to look at it to see if it's actually found anything during a scan (It will still pop up an alert if it actually detects something).    You can avoid this "always Red" state if you hide the last update to it; but most people probably won't do this until it's too late -- and that update isn't removable.   A better choice for A/V protection is to uninstall MSE and use Avast free version -- or one of the paid alternatives.

Other than that, I'd be sure your system is completely up-to-date and "clean" -- and then make a system image.    Then if you have any issues with corruption, just restore the image.

For business use, the story is different -- not because the risk is really any higher; but because many regulatory agencies, credit card companies, etc. require certifications that XP no longer meets due to the lack of support.    If you're in that boat, you have no choice but to switch.

I know a LOT of folks who are using XP, and will continue to use it for the foreseeable future.   If it works well for what you use the computer for, there's no compelling reason to switch.

r.e. the IE bug => note that this exploit requires an action by the user -- clicking on an unknown Active-X link, which then allows an active-x control to run and do it's damage.    This has been true for YEARS ... that's how many viruses get past the security packages.    It's simply not an issue if you are a "safe surfer" -- but as already noted, it can also very easily be avoided by simply using a different browser (i.e. Firefox).
Gareth GudgerSolution Architect
Most Valuable Expert 2014
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
"If it works don't break it" ==> Agree !

Rotary phones worked too right?
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

Commented:
And they still work... on some phone lines but not all.
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014
Commented:
And in surprising news, Microsoft just released a security update thru Windows Update for the new problems in Internet Explorer and it includes a fix for IE8 on Windows XP.
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
yep - i saw it too
Retired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Note that this is actually an update to IE8 ... NOT an update to XP -- so it's not really a violation of Microsoft's "end of life" pronouncement, since some folks still use IE8 with Vista.

Definition updates for MSE also still work just fine with XP -- but, again, these are updates to MSE, NOT to XP.    Note, by the way, that if you "catch" it in time, and "hide" the final update to MSE from before EOL, then MSE will continue to work normally;  but if you miss that and install the final MSE update, then it will turn RED and warn you about using an OS that is past EOL.    It will still work fine -- definition updates will install; and everything will still be checked;  but it's much less convenient, since the status always shows as RED (so you have to open it to confirm whether or not there are any real issues).

For XP itself, you can uninstall the update that does the EOL check and "Nags" you about being past EOL -- that can be done even after it's installed (unlike the final MSE update).

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial