back to article 1 in 7 WinXP-using biz bods DON'T KNOW Microsoft is pulling the plug

A large number of Microsoft customers are in for a rude awakening on 8 April 2014. With less than 400 days to go, 15 per cent of those running Windows XP are still unaware that that’s the date Microsoft finally turns off all support for its legacy PC operating system, according to a recent survey. After 8 April next year, …

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If the PCs running XP do not have access the the internet then i see no problem having them running past the end of life. A P4 box with 512mb RAM is quite capable of running XP and office software but to upgrade them to Win 7 or 8 they would need to have the RAM upgrade and maybe hard drives so it becomes more of an expense than just the OS license

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WTF?

Windows XP is the hackers port of call in terms of trying to get a foot hold and establish botnets,

Yeah, sure. That's what they said about Windows 2000 and it's still a solid operating system.

Look, my brother's laptop has Windows XP SP3 and he hasn't installed a patch in five years. He uses Outpost firewall and a good anti-virus and has never had a problem.

Look, to me anyone who chooses hyperbole to call XP a "hackers port of call" is a bit suspect to me. And if that same person recommends Windows 8 over Windows 7, well, I'm wondering if that person has an agenda.

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Windows

"If the PCs running XP do not have access the the internet then i see no problem having them running past the end of life. A P4 box with 512mb RAM is quite capable of running XP and office software ..."

And how are those office files getting on and off the machine? USB drives? Floppies? A surface of attack (not matter how small or odd) is still a possible problem.

I see your point and generally agree with you. I'm sure there will be a lot of Win XP machines at the back of warehouses and connected to small production lines that will happily carry on as normal. However, over time they tend to get forgotten about and can become the "Typhoid Mary" of your office.

As much as I hate the upgrade treadmill it's worth looking at what's going to happen to them over the next year.

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And how are those office files getting on and off the machine? USB drives? Floppies? A surface of attack (not matter how small or odd) is still a possible problem.

Most of which can be defended against by a decent anti-virus/anti-malware program, kept up to date.

Now quite how long those will be maintained and supported is a supplimentary (but also important) question, as of course is customers having enough IS savvy to maintain them without access to the internet for standard self-updating.

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Recommending Windows 8 over Windows 7 is just common sense.

Windows 8 is faster and has more nifty features, there's just no point in getting Windows 7 if you have the choice.

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Anonymous Coward

"And how are those office files getting on and off the machine?"

LAN/fileserver/printer - No direct internet access - it's common enough in small outfits.

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FAIL

Save that once Microsoft finally pull the Plug on the Patient. So to the like of Norton, Symantic, Adobe, Mozilla... And the List goes on. Nobody is gonna bother to support a dead OS.

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Anonymous Coward

'Kiosk' devices

Judging by the number of blue-screens I've noticed in airports, there are quite a lot of installations of WinXP or earlier running on unattended devices for the purposes of running advertising or customer information boards. I don't see these getting updated in a hurry ...

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"Look, my brother's laptop has Windows XP SP3 and he hasn't installed a patch in five years. He uses Outpost firewall and a good anti-virus and has never had a problem."

And we all know someone who is 96 years old, smoked 100 a day since they were 3 and haven't been hit by a bus (yet).

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Re: BillG Windows XP is the hackers port of call ...

And as we know from the MS security updates (including the one for this month), many fix the same security hole in ALL currently supported versions of Windows ie. XP, Vista, Win7 & Win8...

No Windows per say is the target of malware writers because of its large installed base, followed by other platforms with large user bases specifically browser scripting languages.

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Anonymous Coward

Agenda??? HOW DARE YOU!

... After all, I'm "Head of Software" :)

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And if that same person recommends Windows 8 over Windows 7, well, I'm wondering if that person has an brain.

...FYP

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"if the PC running XP ..."

"And how are those office files getting on and off the machine? USB drives? Floppies? A surface of attack (not matter how small or odd) is still a possible problem."

This surface of attack is the same for ALL versions of Windows - there is practically nothing in Win8 that makes it any less vulnerable to such attacks other than it will have security and bug fix support for a few years beyond that remaining for XP.

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plenty of small business's have small LAN's with no internet access...

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kb
Thumb Up

Not to mention

there is plenty of hardware out there that runs XP quite well that won't run Win 7 and 8 at all. I'm not just talking about the really old stuff like the 2004 Sempron nettop I use at the shop (which will be staying on XP as while it has 2GB of RAM and does its job just fine with AV and firewall neither the video nor the sound is supported in any OS other than XP) but I've seen plenty of Pentium Ds and early Athlon X2s that won't run Win 7, sure as hell won't run win 8, because nobody bothered to make compatible drivers. On one Pentium D I tried upgrading to Win 8 I found there was no sound, ethernet, or onboard graphics drivers to be had. You would have to throw out a system that frankly is overkill for the kinds of roles that particular customer has, all so MSFT can push their cellphone UI? No thanks.

XP will be hanging around long past 2014, with so many Pentium 4s, Pentium Ds, and Athlons and X2s out there that still run great I have a feeling its gonna have a loooong tail. And I don't see how then will be different than now with regards to hackers, not like MSFT releases out of schedule patches hardly ever and as long as you have moved away from IE (since MSFT doesn't backport their browser) so that the browser gets patches? I don't see what the problem is. Heck there are still browsers out there that support Win98 (Kmeleon) so I doubt XP support will be going away anytime soon.

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kb
Facepalm

WRONG

There is a point to getting Win 7 over 8, the point being that if you don't have a touchscreen Win 8 is a mess. for example try win 8 on a laptop and see how often the stupid thing will get confused and decide one minute you are moving the cursor, the next swiping...because we all have to run smartphones now and those use swipes don't ya know?

I'm sorry but after fighting that stupid thing for nearly 2 months Win 8 is the first MSFT OS since WinME I will NOT allow in my shop. Not that its gonna matter anyway as from the looks of it "Windows Blue" will be released in 2014 so like Vista Win 8 is gonna be a "here today, gone later today" release, ala the Star Trek rule.

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Your recommendation, in regards to the topic of this story, makes absolutely no sense at all.

We are discussing support in regards to OS security. Exactly how has Windows 8 proven itself in regards to security protocols, zero-day attacks and programmic security flaws?

Oh yeah, it hasn't. Windows 8 is simply too new to have a proven security track record.

Yet, here you are. Recommending it as a security 'upgrade', better than the 3+ year field proven Windows 7.

You truly may wish to consider withdrawing your statement.

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FAIL

"That's what they said about Windows 2000 and it's still a solid operating system"

Yeah, no, it isn't.

XP has a broken SSL stack which will mean very shortly the internet will stop working for you. Windows 2000 I don't even know wtf is going on there. That's ignoring the endless list of sploits that outpost won't ever save you from.

Can't teach some people.

There's no open source products that would even consider supporting code that old, why Microsoft feels it needs to baby dumbness is anybody's guess.

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Re: Not to mention embedded systems such as laboratory instruments

These devices were interfaced to now ancient PC's running Windows XP. They're not connected to the Internet. They've rarely been updated. Yet, especially in US Govt. facilities, there are various moves a foot to control, license or upgrade them: except many times the instrument manufacturer hasn't! So these will continue to run XP as long as the hardware "breathes" regardless of MicroSoft, Govvey IT "specialists", managers, or Generals.

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FAIL

Votedowns for truth, or why the reg is becoming like youtube.

Seriously, you vote down but neglect to provide a counter-argument? Grow up.

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Vic
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> Seriously, you vote down but neglect to provide a counter-argument?

If I were on of the down-voters[1], my argument would be simply this:

If the Internet is suddenly giong to stop working for the *enormous* number of XP users around the world, then someone will change the way that works such that it *doesn't* stop working.

So claiming your previous post to be "truth" without significant substantiating evidence is at best implausible, and at worst simple fear-mongering.

Vic.

[1] I wasn't, in case you were wondering.

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Boffin

Nope. The SSL stack in windows XP is outdated and broken. There's no fixes coming, Microsoft have said so. End of.

XP is an outdated OS and the day that it goes EOL people will start sorting out their support for it on servers, i.e. that is - removing it.

Anything <= WinXP is affected by it.

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Really?

"“One customer said if you are going to push a new UI on employees, you might as well go all in and go Windows 8 rather than Windows 7,” Van Heerden said."

I doubt that'd be a popular move with anyone involved.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

Windows 8 UI: Maybe if your an OAP!

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Re: Really?

"I doubt that'd be a popular move with anyone involved."

Indeed not. And from a tech point of view it would be madness for any business to touch Windows 8 with Blue only months away, which can be relied upon to upset somebody, somewhere (if not everybody, everywhere).

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Vic
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Re: Really?

> I doubt that'd be a popular move with anyone involved.

Well, he did say "One customer" :-)

Vic.

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Meh

Re: Really?

I am an OAP, and a volunteer helping teach other OAPs computing - So far all of them hate Windows 8 - Except, maybe, those few who only seem to want internet access (so we might as well get them using iOS)...

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kb
Paris Hilton

Re: Really?

They really tried pushing my doctor to switch his office to win 8, she and her nurses are all older, know what they did after trying Win 8 for a month? They went to iPads with keyboards and new charting software installed. When I asked her about it she said "I don't have to fight this like I did that other mess" and that was that.

I have a feeling Win 8 is gonna come back to haunt them, as XP users are frankly just as well off going Apple or Google since they'll have to learn a whole new UI whichever way they go.

Paris because I doubt even she would be stupid enough to run off her fans like that.

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Meh

"you might as well go all in and go Windows 8 rather than Windows 7"

Why? Windows 7 is like XP and Windows 9 will be like Windows 7 if MS has any sense of self-preservation.

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Re: "you might as well go all in and go Windows 8 rather than Windows 7"

Which, if Windows 8's pre-release behaviour from Microsoft is any indication, they don't. It is like they were in a car with the brakes cut, and had thousands of passengers yelling at them that the brakes are cut and they just stepped right on the accelerator and went forward with their ears plugged and humming.

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Re: "you might as well go all in and go Windows 8 rather than Windows 7"

>The new Win 8 UI is all about MS attempting to get back into the profitable mobile game.

Which MS decided to effectively exit when it decided to combine it's various client OS developments into a single release with all of the politic's, design, development and management problems that entails which have resulted in a greatly extending development. Whereas Apple iOS and Google's Android both created a new mobile OS derived from their respective parent OS'es, which enabled them to focus on the mobile user environment and rapidly innovate relevant features.

As the article indicates, MS haven't been particularly pro-active in setting out the roadmap for their enterprise customers. Remember in the 90's MS effectively had two Window's development streams with 98 & ME being consumer releases which business largely ignored and used 95 until 2000 was released. XP suffered initially as MS brought the two code-bases back into line and so wasn't really a stable enterprise OS until SP2.

As you point out, the question is whether MS's strategy for a unified UI will win long term, or whether they will continue to loose ground to the more agile pure-play OS's. Also in question is whether they can gain sufficient traction for their subscription-based licensing model.

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Meh

Eh, suck it up and move to 7. Which is essentially Vista service pack 4 now. XP was a nightmare when it first rolled out. You pretty much needed a whole new kit to run it and even then the drivers weren't there. Still, it became solid. Can't see moving to 8 any time soon until it is fixed. Good core, but it is very ugly.

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Anonymous Coward

Seriously though

Shouldn't all the bugs have been found in XP by now?

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*Please* stop saying that you'll be "naked" after April 4 when Microsoft stops updates for WindowsXP. A claim like that is simply hyperbole.

We are "naked" NOW. Security patches for any OS occurs *after* the threat has been examined and determined, after the fact of threat release into the wild. Everyone, everywhere, surfs naked NOW and uses various forms of prevention to avoid infection. The only thing Microsoft, or Apple for that matter, technically does is either immunize or cure you AFTER the threat is real. All of this acts in a similar fashion to biological diseases except there is no built-in systemic immunity; it is added artificially to the system in response to the detection of a threat.

As a user, your actions will not change a single bit once Microsoft stops its updates. It will still be up to you to use preventative measures to avoid infections, only the source of a cure will change. Microsoft simply patches their systems to strengthen the measures you are taking yourself (anti-virus, firewalls, proxies, script controls, ad blockers and hopefully some common sense). WindowsXP sip not up and die on April 4, you will be as "naked" as before as your computer interacts with the world, that will not change much.

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Wooh there. Many security patches on many OS's are actually privately reported or internally discovered. Not all are "Zero Day" exploits being used in the wild, THAT is hyperbole.

And to say that people will not be any more or any less vulnerable once security patches stop is just encouraging bad practice. Many of the "Major" virus infections of the last 15 or so years relied on security flaws that HAD been patched!

Staying patched is the number 1 rule to staying secure.

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nicely put

You said it in the best possible way .. That's exactly the thing all these article writers and nay-sayers and doomsday predictors of the end of windows xp don't seem to get ..

People will be reluctant and loathe to migrate to a new OS as long as the current one still does its job quite well .. However, decreased support after 2014 april will gradually be followed by other software vendors esp. Browser and anti-malware software makers .. This, coupled with a new range of hardware devices like printers and so on with a new breed of interfaces and drivers may be the reason people will eventually shift to windoze 7 or 8 .. (a bit similar to how it happened from win98 to winxp )

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"Many security patches on many OS's are actually privately reported or internally discovered."

And what part of this discovery process occurs on a system that isn't "in the wild" - that is, already vulnerable because people are using it, unpatched, on the internet as the exploit is being reported?

Again, you are surfing "naked" NOW. All systems are vulnerable and the vulnerabilities get patched AFTER the OS rolls out, after the public is using it with all its existing holes and targets. The patches only try to plug some of the leaks in the sieve, after you have already been pouring the water of the internet in for, likely, months and months and months.

The realization and you are already "naked" is part of your cure - rampant paranoid is your only hope of internet survival. From personal information to data integrity, only the paranoid survive.

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Windows XP Upgrade

Of course users will get to pay for the hardware and software upgrade.

....but can anyone tell me what additional VALUE or additional FUNCTIONALITY most Windows users will get from upgrading from XP to something else?

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Re: Windows XP Upgrade

VALUE or additional FUNCTIONALITY

well they'll be getting an OS thats supported by the manufacturer for a start!

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Re: Windows XP Upgrade

Improved performance?

Increases security?

USB 3 support?

GPT support (needed for drives larger than 2TB)?

The ability to have more than 4GB of RAM?

Dramatically improved support for large scale deployment and management?

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Re: Windows XP Upgrade

Cause USB3.0 is so prevalent now.... Just like USB2.0 was back then when XP first came out.

Perhaps by the time of Windows 9 you might have had a pint there.

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Facepalm

Re: Windows XP Upgrade

Easy. Win 7 is faster and easier to use and support.

Seems that's not a good enough for the iconoclasts, though.

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Re: Windows XP Upgrade

@Naughtyhorse

"well they'll be getting an OS that's supported by the manufacturer for a start!"

As an independent contractor whose done a lot of work for Fortune 500's and SMB's in recent years, I can tell you I haven't felt any support from MS for SMB's since the 1990's! For example, on several occasions patchy MS patching broke more things than it fixed.

Sometimes the patches themselves, or the delivery mechanism therein, or the added complexity of Virus / Malware software, conspire to bring about unexpected crashes or disable crucial features. In 2007 XP was updated with new common controls among other files. Several of these had update bugs and caused catastrophic failures in businesses I worked in.

Office 2003 is on this expiry list too. Several updates in 2007 disabled or deactivated features. Whether MS did this cynically to create headaches for Office 2003 and move more 2007 product I'll forgo speculating! In any event, I couldn't get any help from MS on either issue. In the end, Sysinternals Process Monitor and the Depends.exe app came to the rescue thankfully-- not Microsoft!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows XP Upgrade

Faster? I could buy a faster car... doesn't mean I have to or want to.

Faster to support? What, Win7 staff pick up their phones quicker? Hmmm... XP remains, for obvious reasons, the one that people have a decade experience of.

There will come a time (and Microsoft will make sure of it, because their existence depends on it) when new software won't run on it, when it won't run on new hardware, and the upgrade to MS-Win-Whatever will be forced.

Until then... Use it until it croaks and dies.

Remember the typewriter days. Can I have a new typewriter? No: not while the old one still works. A bit more of that attitude applied to PCs and software would save a huge amount of money, and put a spoke in the wheel of MS's gravy train. Why the hell should MS take for granted that the commercial world will shower it in regular doses of dosh! For nothing. Lets show them otherwise!

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Re: Windows XP Upgrade

>Improved performance?

Given the significant increase in performance of machines since 2002 this is likely only to be a problem to so called "power users" ie. gamers.

>Increases security?

Yet to be field proven, but as the MS security patches show the latest versions of Windows have many of the same security holes...

>USB 3 support?

It only needs a driver - remember LBA, IRDA, USB, SATA, WiFi, etc. ... Only MS (for commercial reasons) are only providing the driver in their latest OS as an incentive to upgrade.

>GPT support (needed for drives larger than 2TB)?

It's a driver see USB 3.0

The ability to have more than 4GB of RAM?

XP has been able to support 64GB of RAM, only there were two slightly different ways of implementing this in hardware that unfortunately couldn't be detected by software...

Dramatically improved support for large scale deployment and management?

Irrelevant as XP is already deployed and managed!

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Re: Windows XP Upgrade

> Improved performance?

Supposedly, but I'm unconvinced.

> Increases security?

Obviously, but the question was what else?

> USB 3 support?

Odd, I have USB 3 on my XP system and it works fine.

> GPT support (needed for drives larger than 2TB)?

Fair point, but if you are still on XP, the likelihood of needing local support for over 2TB isn't that great.

> The ability to have more than 4GB of RAM?

You can make use of a little more than 4GB, but the situation is the same for vista, 7 and 8.

You need a 64 bit version of the OS, and the 64 bit version of XP also supports GPT (apparently)

Dramatically improved support for large scale deployment and management?

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Alert

Re: Windows XP Upgrade

MS doesn't really support their OS's anyway.

The big issue is OEM and if they are going to continue offering software that runs on XP.

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Started a new job last year and we are still running Windows XP. "We have dabbled with Windows 7" came the response, when asked what the plan was for migrating.

One legacy app was holding them back from going to Windows 7, which after two days of working on I found a way to get it working on Windows 7.

A little bit of work on WDS, USMT and Powershell and we now have a light-touch deployment of Windows 7 that works on almost all 15 models of desktop PC that we have in the office.

Doing a desktop rollout, be it hardware or software, is one the least "Sexy" IT projects and the hardest to sell to management, you almost always get the same response "Why do we need to spend money on doing that, what we have works fine!"

You mention "user resistance", but lets not forget that many of these "users" are the managers that oversee IT departments budgets!

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