Windows XP given its twelve-month notice

April 8, 2013 | 09:17

Tags: #microsoft-windows #operating-system #security #support #windows #windows-7 #windows-8 #windows-vista #windows-xp

Companies: #microsoft

Microsoft has reiterated its plans to kill off Windows XP - the operating system that just won't die - stating that support for the platform will come to an end exactly one year from today.

While Windows XP had its detractors at launch, largely thanks to a colourful user interface that saw it dubbed the FisherPrice My First Operating System, it has proved a persistent presence in the market. By market share the operating system commands an impressive 38.73 per cent - beaten only by Windows 7, with Windows Vista, Windows 8, OS X, Linux and the enigmatic 'other' making up a mere 18.3 per cent combined. This despite it being three full releases out of date and an impressive eleven years old.

It's not a platform Microsoft particularly likes supporting, however. The company has made numerous moves to kill it off in the past, officially phasing it out in 2007 only to change its mind following the poor reception of Windows Vista. Its support lifetime, originally planned to expire on the 30th of June 2008, was boosted to April 2014 - a date which is now drawing worryingly close for those who still rely on the platform.

Microsoft has done much to convince businesses and home users to make the move to a more modern operating system, introducing business-friendly features - including a virtualised Windows XP mode for otherwise incompatible legacy applications - to Windows 7 as a way of making up for the flop that was Vista. More recently, it's been going on something of a PR offensive: back in 2012 the company claimed that Windows XP was costing companies millions that could be saved with a switch to Windows 7.

For the third of the world that's still using Windows XP, however, the 8th of April 2014 marks a major deadline: after that date, Microsoft will make good on its threats and cease to publish security updates for the operating system. While it has long since stopped offering new features for the OS - you can't get DirectX 11 on Windows XP, for example, or Internet Explorer 10 - it still publishes security updates and bug-fixes, but that will stop dead next year.

That is, unless the company changes its mind. With more than a third of the internet still sticking with Windows XP, the company would leave a lot of clients high and dry with a complete cessation of patching - and while it's eager to convince people to pick up a copy of Windows 8, it's less eager to be seen as the reason why worms, viruses and other malware suddenly exploded in April 2014. Officially, this deadline is the very last for Windows XP - but, then again, we've heard that before.
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