End of Support: After 12 and a half years of service, Windows XP officially retires today

End of Support: After 12 and a half years of service, Windows XP officially retires today

Windows XP’s end of support has finally reached its deadline. Around 12 and a half years ago, Microsoft launched Windows XP, a desktop operating system which, little did the company know, was going to revolutionize the world. A giant step ahead of all other operating systems of its time. For better or worse, Windows XP was so good that it affected the success of the next Windows operating systems. But today, after a series of constant warnings, campaigns and lucrative offers, Microsoft will bid farewell to one of its most popular products.

The problem with Windows XP is that it is over a decade old. In the 90s, when the company was developing this operating system, the concept of cloud and virtualization were yet to gain pace. Tons of new technologies have arrived and matured since then. "We live in a much more mobile world than 13 years ago; hardware has never been so cost-effective and computing requirements and capabilities have moved on beyond anyone's expectations," says Microsoft's UK Windows Commercial Chief, David Rodger

From this day forward, if there arrives any problem that could harm Windows XP, Microsoft isn’t going to come to provide a fix for it. It won’t do anything to make the operating system better. Although Windows XP users can look into 3rd party alternatives for security, productivity and multimedia tools, there are only a few things one could do on this decade old operating system. Some anti-virus makers have already confirmed that they will be providing support to Windows XP for at least a year. On the productivity front, one could always try their hand at LibreOffice and OpenOffice or Office 2010 or lower. (Office 2013 isn’t compatible on Windows XP). Chrome and Firefox will work for a while as well. Microsoft wants users to switch from Windows XP and move on to a modern operating system.

XP’s end of support has not only affected personal users, but hundreds of corporate machines as well. Millions of offices are running Windows XP on their computers. Hundreds of millions of ATMs are also booting the embedded version of Windows XP, whose support also ends today. Another worrisome thing is that several hospitals and healthcare facilities are even running Windows XP. This risks the confidential information of hundreds of thousands patients.

“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,” Microsoft Director (Trustworthy Computing division) Tim Rains had said earlier in a blog post.

The UK and the Dutch government are so concerned that they are paying Microsoft a whopping sum to extend support for many of their products, including Windows XP, Microsoft Office and Exchange 2003.

Then there’s the cost factor as well. In many companies, to prevent extra expenditure, it is difficult to upgrade to a newer operating system. The second reason, which could be technically resolved, is the program compatibility. Not only are these companies running old operating systems, but the software they use at work is also old, and in many cases so old that it can’t natively run on any operating system but XP. Whatever the reason is, according to stats from last week, 27.16% users are still booting Windows XP. That’s more than one out of four computers. That’s scary.

Over the years we have seen malware coders getting ahold of PCs and using them in botnets for bigger attacks. On the other hand, using Windows XP could be counterproductive as well. The built-in tools that came with XP are outdated, Microsoft has added tons of new features and improved the existing ones.

If nothing else, buy a Chromebook, or try Ubuntu or any other Linux based operating systems. Windows XP has already extended its retirement in the past, time you let it go!

Are you still using Windows XP? If so, how long are you planning to stick to it?

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