Microsoft Officially Ends Support for Windows XP
Despite the fact that Windows XP still has a significant number of users around the world, Microsoft has announced that they are officially ceasing to provide support for any XP-related questions and queries. Microsoft has been warning of this move for a while now, and many people are surprised that it has taken this long for support to end, given that the software was released more than 12 years ago.
Official Support Ends But Help is Still Available
Today, the 8th of April 2014, marks the expiration of an extended support phase that Microsoft offered to all Windows XP users as well as the end of support for all Office 2003 products. Fortunately, there are many tutorials that have surfaced online during the past decade covering virtually every aspect of these products, and not to mention the number of forums dedicated to Windows XP issues, so users shouldn't find themselves unable to find assistance.
Mainstream support for Windows XP ceased back in April 2009, and since then users have been receiving warning notifications that all support would be coming to an end. During the past couple days Windows XP users with Microsoft Essential installed have been receiving frequent pop-ups warning of the impending support expiration.
What Does This Mean for XP Users?
The end of support means that XP will no longer receive any updates, fixes, or security patches. Thus, even though it will still be possible to use the operating system and receive help online through other channels, Microsoft warns that using Windows XP after the last update may present a security risk to your computer, as systems running this archaic operating system could be left vulnerable to attacks.
It is likely that hackers will attempt to exploit this new loophole and create as many attacks on Windows XP as possible during the coming months. During this time the use of third-party antivirus software will be of the utmost important for XP users.
Windows XP Still Used By More Than a Quarter of PC Users
All of this sounds like old news and a side issue for those of us that run the newer operating systems, but did you know that about 28% of the world's PCs are currently running Windows XP? To put that into perspective, that is about 4 times the amount of all Mac OSX users combined.
Many of the computers running the old XP are located in schools, businesses, and government buildings, as administrative departments have neglected to make the switch to a newer operating system – probably due to either restrictive budgets or the mindset “if it isn't broken don't fix it.” The problem is, once a Windows XP network is broken, it will no longer be fixed now that Microsoft has stepped away from XP for good.
UK Government Paying for One Extra Year of Support
Windows XP has become such a popular solution in administrative networks that some organizations are actually paying Microsoft to provide custom support. For example, the United Kingdom government is paying a whopping $9.2 million for an additional year of Windows XP support to allow for a seamless transition into a newer operating system. Of course, for us normal people, paying Microsoft a ton of money to keep answering our XP questions just isn't practical, so we'll have to move on to Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8.1.