Not long ago, I posted about how Windows XP was going to be dangerous to use after April 8, 2014 because Microsoft was ending support for it. So any new security holes that were discovered would not be patched up after that date. Recently Microsoft announced that, since 95% of the world’s ATM machines are still running on Windows XP, they would extend support for the Windows XP antimalware until July 2015 to give the banks time to upgrade. So what does this mean for consumers? We’ll explain it here.
It would actually be hard for me to imagine how Microsoft could have handled this any worse than they have so far. I find it really amazing that a company that is so big, and has so many smart people working there, could think that what they have done is the best way to proceed. It’s like no one there is thinking anything through.
Quick background summary:
Microsoft introduced Windows XP in 2001.
Over the years, they have intimated a few times that they are going to stop supporting it (meaning, no more automatic Windows Updates to fix security problems that are discovered). But they continued to support it.
Roughly a year ago (I don’t know the actual date), they set a deadline for the end of support: April 8, 2014. That would be the end of the line for Windows XP support, and we mean it for real this time. So as that deadline got closer and closer, there has been a lot of talk about what’s going to happen since so many computers around the world will still be using XP on that date. I even did a whole blog post about it.
There was something else that Microsoft also was going to end – antimalware support for XP. In other words, if you did continue to use XP after the security updates ended, you would also not be able to install Microsoft Security Essentials on that computer. So that meant you would have to rely on a different antivirus program, and it was questionable whether or not the other antivirus companies would continue to allow their software to be installed on a Windows XP machine. And even if they did, antivirus protection alone really isn’t sufficient on an operating system that is unsupported.
Now the more recent developments:
Microsoft has now announced that the deadline has been extended to July 2015. What deadline? The deadline for Security Essentials being installed on an XP machine. The support for Windows Updates is still going to end on April 8, 2014 – just a short time from now.
That’s the problem. The average user does not know the difference. Think about it – you’ve got someone who has been using XP for years, loves it, and then hears all this talk about how they have to upgrade by April. That in itself is upsetting, and some people have already decided to ignore it. Many others just don’t know what to do.
Then there comes the recent headlines, “Microsoft extends XP deadline to July 2015”. Do you think people read the whole report to see what that actually means? Of course not. There are now tons of XP users thinking, “This is great! I have another whole year before I have to do anything!” This is not true.
If you get nothing else from this, please get this: If your computer is currently running Windows XP, you still need to upgrade or replace it with a newer version of Windows by April 8, 2014.
That’s what I mean when I say Microsoft has really handled this in the worst way possible. They are still going to end the official support for XP in April, but with this recent announcement about extending the ability to install Security Essentials, a lot of people are going to have a false sense of security and think they have another year before they need to take action.
Don’t be one of those people. Get this taken care of now, while you have time.
Where can you still get a new computer with Windows 7 installed? Here are a few places: