Microsoft will end the support for Windows XP on Tuesday, April 8. After more than 12 years, Windows XP breathes its last gasp. The technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date.
If you continue to use Windows XP now that support has ended, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Internet Explorer 8 is also no longer supported, so if your Windows XP PC is connected to the Internet and you use Internet Explorer 8 to surf the web, you might be exposing your PC to additional threats.
Microsoft has been warning about the demise of Windows XP support since 2007. Despite Microsoft’s urgings, a sizable portion of the world’s PC users are still actively using Windows XP. During March 2014, close to 30 percent of all Internet-connected PCs worldwide were running XP, according to Net Market Share. Only Windows 7 surpassed XP in PC usage.
According to the marketing director of NCR, the largest ATM supplier in the US, more than 95 percent of all ATM machines in the world are still running Windows XP. Many point-of-sale machines also run different versions of Windows XP which makes them a perfect target for attacks.
As many as 10 percent of US government computers, hundreds of thousands of machines, are also Windows XP based and can be left out of date, including networks carrying classified military and diplomatic information.
The UK government has already signed a $9.1 million deal to extend the 12 month support for departmental computers using Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003. A similar multi-million dollar deal is in place to help the 40,000 PCs used by German civil servants.
There’s no doubt about it: Many people around the world refuse to give up on XP anytime soon. For many of them, PCs aren’t snazzy tech gadgets, but home appliances that still work just fine. Beyond that there’s suspicion toward Windows 8, migration hassles and costs, personal preference, and a heavy dose of skepticism about the fundamental insecurity of Windows XP.
The same day that Windows XP reaches its end of support on April 8, Microsoft will roll out a major update to Windows 8.1 that will make it easier for traditional desktop users to interact with touch-friendly modern UI apps. The company also recently announced that the Start menu will return to Windows sometime in the coming months.
Once the Windows 8.1 Start menu returns, Microsoft may be able to convince some more XP users to switch. But for many, the decision to stick with XP clearly goes deeper than the presence or absence of a Start menu. And that may not change, regardless of Microsoft’s efforts.