The end of extended support for Windows XP is official.  As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer develop or release security and/or updates for the ever-popular and overhauled Windows XP SP3 operating system. Microsoft has done the same for W95 & W98 in the past. Current data suggests that Windows XP is still running on 31% of desktops worldwide and is celebrating its 13th birthday, which is many years beyond its life expectancy.

Microsoft XP is just not built for the new digital world.

As well, Microsoft Vista will be end-of-life on April 11, 2017 and Windows 7 is scheduled for end-of-life January 14, 2020 – well within the 13-year-run XP has enjoyed.

What does this mean for Windows XP? It means no safeguards against viruses, spyware or intrusion from hackers, no updates, no patches and no support. Windows XP will not be able to support the latest and safest web-compatible versions of Internet Explorer or the latest hardware advances.

Web developers globally will be ecstatic to see XP-only IE 6, 7 and 8 go away.  Not to mention that you can’t upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 – instead, it must be installed from scratch with the average enterprise migration taking 18-24 months from business case to full deployment.

What are the implications?

A lot of software that only runs on XP will not run. After April 8, 2014, you will lose send/receive email, network/internet access, network printing services and data transfers from removable media. Attackers will exploit the security code and essentially Windows XP will have “zero day” vulnerabilities forever. There are many out there who argue there’s anti-virus software that can block attacks and clean up infections if they occur, but who can say for sure or want to take that risk?

Can the APIs Used By AV Companies Be Trusted? Will Microsoft’s DEP (Data Execution Prevention) key to XP’s security be overcome by attackers?

All very good questions, indeed.

All is not lost, however. One can always look to White List solutions and/or Linux! Stay tuned!

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