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back to article Fine! We'll keep updating WinXP's malware sniffer after April, says Microsoft

Microsoft has capitulated to the legions of users who are still running Windows XP once again, by extending support for its antimalware software for the aging OS into 2015. In the past, Redmond has warned that it would discontinue support for Microsoft Security Essentials, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection …

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Anonymous Coward

"OK! OK! We'll keep updating WinXP's malware sniffer after April"

Well thanks!

: )

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "OK! OK!

So you'll know you have crap on your machine, but won't be able to do anything to stop it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "OK! OK!

"So you'll know you have crap on your machine, but won't be able to do anything to stop it."

MSE removes it also - and there is a bootable disk version to clean Rootkits, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "OK! OK!

My experience of MSE (and all MS iterations preceding it) is that it's a piece of shite that appeals to those who a). know so little they think MS knows everything, and 2). think the most important aspect of anti-malware is that it is free.

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Happy

Re: "OK! OK!

You gotta laugh at the downvotes!

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Will XP really "never be updated"?

Isn't Microsoft providing corporations willing to pay $200/license or something crazy like that extra extended support for a few more years? If someone makes those updates available out on the web, is Microsoft really going to want to suffer the bad publicity that would result from them trying to issue takedown notices to stop them from being distributed?

I don't think they'll have the balls to do so, so XP will continue to be viable for a few more years, until no one is paying for these updates any longer.

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Anonymous Coward

If someone makes those updates available out on the web...

..expect to find a lot of "XP security updates" in warez and torrent sites....

Opportunities ahoy!

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Re: If someone makes those updates available out on the web...

..expect to find a lot of "XP security updates" in warez and torrent sites....

And of course they'll be 100% risk free as they came from a warez site!

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Re: Will XP really "never be updated"?

Experience shows that the companies paying thousands of dollars for Microsoft to hotfix issues after extended support don't tend to leak them (try finding one for NT4 or Windows 2000 for example, it just doesn't happen). And they will only be paying for specific fixes to specific issues they encounter, not necessarily everything if they can mitigate it in other ways.

Remember, everyone said *exactly* the same thing about NT4 which loads of businesses were running past the end of support, often because they were assuming the same thing you are - that Microsoft would somehow have a last minute change of heart and extend support further. And Microsoft duly stopped providing updates, exactly as had always been claimed.

If you're running XP past the first patch Tuesday after EOL, I really hope you have it very much isolated from the internet, because it's going to be open season.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Will XP really "never be updated"?

As has been said many times before: Lots of firms run un-patched or not recently patched versions of XP (I'm currently on a site with 4000 quite old patched versions of XP running without problems). There will be no difference after April.

If they are safe now when they don't apply MS patches they will certainly be safe after April when there won't be patches for them to not apply!

Of course it could be that the site I work on is full of malware but if so, no-one has noticed :-)

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Re: Will XP really "never be updated"?

"As has been said many times before: Lots of firms run un-patched or not recently patched versions of XP (I'm currently on a site with 4000 quite old patched versions of XP running without problems). There will be no difference after April."

<snip>

Bravo Monsieur Annonymous.

'Twill be OK cos it is all sorted out, secured and who will bother to attack an obsolete fully patched system (yep up to that point). It is far easier to attack more modern buggy versions and also why go niche when you can go mass market? XP is now niche and at the end I liked it in the same way I loved NT4 on DEC Alpha.

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Re: Will XP really "never be updated"?

Big difference between XP and NT4 is that consumers are still running XP in large numbers. Fixes for NT4 didn't appear on the net because businesses aren't going to download fixes that way.

There are sites that build "service packs" out of Windows updates so you don't have to download them separately, which a lot of people trust because they haven't had reason not to trust. I'd be willing to bet they get hold of the XP fixes, at least the ones for critical issues like remote exploits or "visit an evil URL and your PC is owned" type stuff.

No one is going to worry all that much about getting patches that include the latest version of the time zone data so they won't all be available but the most critical ones will be.

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Re: If someone makes those updates available out on the web...

"And of course they'll be 100% risk free as they came from a warez site!"

Of course. Everything Microsoft sells is warez duffus!

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I am not sure this is actually a good move supporting essentials , it might lull people into a false sense of security. If their aim is to get everyone onto Win 7 or above then they need to give as much encouragement as possible, how about another cheap upgrade deal? For those using Forefront they should already be aware of any increase risk to them so I can see why they would continue supporting that as they might loose an AV customer!

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So effectively it'd be

"You have security essentials, it'll keep you up to date on malware and viruses... virusi? Virus'? Whatever"

"Woohoo, my computer is totally secure for another year!

"No, it's only secure for virus cover and malware, there are still manual exploits hackers can use which we can't stop"

"Totally secure"

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False sense of security is also from MSE's no-so-good detection rate, let alone exploits for MS and non-MS software.

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Re: actually a good move supporting essentials

It probably is, but not for the reasons you are thinking. It's essentially the same software they will keep updating for Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. The marginal cost of manufacturing the sig updates for XP will be fairly low. The potential for a Cali judge to permit a class action lawsuit against MS for failure to maintain their anti-malware product on XP? Not a risk I'd be willing to take, even with the lawyers at their disposal.

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Upgrade to Win7??? And just **WHERE** are you going to *find* that copy of Win7 to install? (I'm talking legitimate versions of Win7, not the highly questionable ones they sell on feeBay; also mean copies that don't cost $250 for the SuperMegaPremiumProUltraUltimate version of Win7). Considering Win8 will not run on a lot of perfectly servicable machines, some source of Win7 is absolutely necessary if MS doesn't want a large scale defection to Linux.

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LDS
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*just* 14 more months to upgrade?

Guess MS has given them at least "just" five years more, given Windows 7 was released in 2009. Can't really understand why people want the last mobe but they're fine with a twelve years old OS. There's very little software that has been supported for so long. It's really time to move on, many new applications won't support XP any longer as well.

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Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade?

I'm torn. My old XP laptop is only rarely used for various things my tablet can't do. It's fine for those tasks, but barely worth replacing. It still works fine and is only slightly afflicted with 'Windows rot'. What should I do?

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Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade?

@AC 101

Linux?

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Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade?

What is it your tablet can't do?

Keyboard/mouse/dvd - plug in USB ones.

Run some XP32 software that can't run under 7/8 - install XP on tablet under VM player

Is your tablet an IPad? - There's bound to be some way of running XP on it as it's all intel.

I wonder if anyone offers 'XP in the cloud' yet. The full XP experience forever, via a browser ! :)

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Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade?

Tell me, where can I buy this Intel iPad?

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MJI
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Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade?

Why don't MS get 7 to run software which XP could? Vista started the rot.

IP over NETBIOS

Full screen DOS programs

VGA mode DOS programs

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Holmes

Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade?

@LDS

"Can't really understand why people want the last mobe but they're fine with a twelve years old OS"

The person buying the mobe for themselves probably has the latest OS, and latest Mac or Ultrabook. But their wife and kids end up with the hand-me-downs.

Then translate that to the business world - the CEO etc have all the latest toys, but the proletariat get left with whatever works for the least amount of money especially until there's a compelling incentive to improve it.

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Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade?

Must admit, I've never heard of this Apple Intel iPad.

But then again, you start plugging keyboards and such into a tablet, you lose the portability of a tablet which is one of the reasons for using a tablet in the first place. It's all down to what you use a device for. Laptops and desktops are general purpose machines, tablets and smartphones are specialist devices. While there are points at which they cross over in their functionality, their uses are geared towards what they do best and I would no sooner carry a desktop around to use for portable browsing than I would use a smartphone to run the majority of desktop applications. But that's a whole different gripe.

It just seems rather odd that this announcement comes so soon after HMG admitted that a number of its main departments admitted that they couldn't remove all their XP machines in time for the April deadline.

Or maybe I'm just paranoid?

(...the greater good...)

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Linux

Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade?

"the CEO etc have all the latest toys, but the proletariat get left with whatever works for the least amount of money especially until there's a compelling incentive to improve it."

You hit that nail right on the head with an nuclear powered hammer...

- Tux because MS is going to have to try really hard to get me to buy another of their OSes (like Ballmer going to Munich levels)...

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Boffin

Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade? @MJI

You can run Full screen DOS programs (including graphics) in Vista/7 *if* you install XP graphics drivers. You will lose all the post DX9 -goodies (Aero, modern games) and DXVA acceleration for h.264 playback. I recommend using Dosbox if your programs/games require graphics or full screen.

Netbios over tcpip works fine in Vista and 7.

If you are mistaking Netbios protocol to Netbeui -> it can be done at least in 32-bit Vista but isn't supported - just like Netbeui wasn't supported even in XP!

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Re:Linux?

Only if one has oodles of free time to recover the functionality lost upon "upgrading".

I have a well-respected colleague who boasted about a "trouble-free" replacement of XP with Linux on his laptop. "No issues" he proudly announced, and we made appropriate "well done" noises.

Over a year later he mentioned casually that he had finally got the laptop's sleep/wake upon lid close/open behavior working properly again. I was astounded. This level of mendacity I though to be confined to Mac users.

And then, none of your software will work after the swap because the binaries will be wrong. Of course, there's always the ability to run XP in a virtual machine, so more time lost to set that up and get it working, all to find that some of your library still won't function correctly. So you'll replace software with open versions that will need making (another skill to be picked up). So you end up spending all your time tweaking the O/S and buggering about compiling for its own sake instead of doing whatever it is you bought the laptop for in the first place.

By all means experiment with Linux. But to blithely state that swapping out XP for Linux will "solve everything" is a bit naughty.

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Anonymous Coward

@Stevie - Re: Re:Linux?

Yeah, yeah, we all have a friend who a few years ago... blah,blah and other similar stuff. Now go back and come again in a couple of years to tell us about software repositories and readily compiled binaries which Linux has been using for quite some time unlike Windows where they are just starting to appear.

Even as little as calling you a troll would be a waste.

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Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade?

"I'm torn. My old XP laptop is only rarely used for various things my tablet can't do. It's fine for those tasks, but barely worth replacing. It still works fine and is only slightly afflicted with 'Windows rot'. What should I do?"

Hi Torn,

You will be OK. You are going to become a niche OS and traditionally these people go for mass markets. Why bother with people running XP as you are all obviously a bunch of cheap skates on social welfare ;)

p.s.

Yep I get the torn bit.

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Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade?

No need to worry. If you rarely use it, that means it probably could qualify for that Red Book cert MS was so proud of for NT4 back in the day: the system is rarely connected to anything that could infect it anyway. Stay away from the internet browser as much as possible when you do fire it up and you should be fine.

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MJI
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Re: *just* 14 more months to upgrade? @MJI

I do know that MS deliberately removed it. Very annoying.

Since our Windows software uses the same database as the older DOS software, migration has not been too difficult, but certain older tools just worked.

Our reindex tool was more stable in MS DOS executable than a Win32 Console mode, but the netbios thing in 7 32 bit prevented us repairing a database - we zipped it up brought it back to the office to fix.

We did have a competitor using our late appearance in Windows as a selling point, but out MS DOS package was so much more powerful that it took us years to convert. He used to get very nasty and was annoyed when our new version appeared.

We still have a couple of customers running our DOS system on XP, and a few customers still using older DOS screens on a couple of PCs against the latest database.

I liked XP as I could run both our old system and our new system. As a developer being able to run all of your software is good.

Now we get sales where prospective customers do not like the same competitlrs software,

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Maybe the Reg should have a FinXP countdown timer in the masthead :)

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Anonymous Coward

See http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=11662

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Linux

Waiting for the Rapture (Win 9) to come along

So, let's see. Let's try to get a handle on the "strategic" thinking here.

Announcing the impending end of XP is not driving Win 8/8.1 sales. Maybe 2014 will be better, but what if it is not?

We don't want people slipping back to Win 7.

Perhaps, if we keep XP ticking along until Win 9 / Threshold comes along.....

Then the whole world will obviously rush off to buy millions of copies in the first couple of days!!!!

Just like RT!!!!

Oh S---T!

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Re: Waiting for the Rapture (Win 9) to come along

Not a terrible plan actually. That is, after all, what happened when 7 came out. Everyone who had a crappy computer but didn't want Vista held out for 7. I know I did, even pre-ordered it.

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Old systems still working

What about all those old systems that are still working but simply can't run Vista/7/8.1. I've come across people running XP with the original 512MBs. MS is effectively saying dump 'em and buy new systems, not very eco friendly in a world suffering unseasonable weather effects that may be due to climate change (not saying it is), to just put more stuff in the landfills. With their billions in profits how much is it costing them to just keep XP security updated anyway?

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Re: Old systems still working

"What about all those old systems that are still working but simply can't run Vista/7/8.1."

What about them?

Microsoft didn't make all those PCs! All they did back then was sell software, a games console and some peripherals like keyboards and mice. Why should they be expected to go out of their way to support someone else's products? It's not as if information about Vista and Windows 7 weren't leaked well before they were released, and you've certainly had plenty of time to put some money aside to save up for suitable replacements.

XP's expiry date has been known about since 2011 – 1000 days' notice – or a little under three whole years. Even setting aside just $150 a year would have left you with enough money now to buy a decent replacement, so there really is no excuse for all the whining.

As for the ecological argument: last time I checked, older PCs tend to use more energy. Quite a lot more if using kit with a Pentium IV (or related CPU) inside it. They're also quite a bit more recyclable than people realise. It's using the things to death and then chucking them into the nearest bin in their entirety that's ecologically unsound. Recycling them responsibly is actually the right thing to do. The WEEE regulations actually requires PC manufacturers to take back their old kit for recycling.

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This doesn't alter the fact...

... that many home users will not/cannot replace what they perceive as perfectly usable system, merely because the OS is out of support.

The only thing that will make then do anything at all is if their critical websites, like their banking, shopping and on-line media sites stop working because they cannot update their browser. As long as updated versions of Firefox or Chrome are available, then they will stay on XP regardless of other problems.

For many, many people, £300 (or more if they have more than one to replace, like kids systems) for a new computer is enough of a hurdle for them to take the risk. After all, what would you do if you could not afford a new system, and had the choice of either stopping using computers completely, or continuing with XP with a higher risk of being exploited. This is what a lot of people miss, especially in the IT sellers and even on this site (where may of us probably have above average incomes).

When the browsers on XP can no longer hack it, there may really be a real opportunity for Linux to extend the life of otherwise potentially useless Windows XP systems. What we need is someone like Which! or other consumer related publications to publish a review of a suitable distro for 2GHz P4/early Core2 grade systems with modest memory and graphics capability as an alternative to sending a computer to the dump. I think that there would be some people who would consider this when given it as an alternative, especially if it is a relatively painless install, aimed at novice level technical experience (yes, it can be done).

I think that the corporates who are/were expecting the end of XP support to be a lever for more PC sales will be disappointed in the home market.

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Re: This doesn't alter the fact...

"When the browsers on XP can no longer hack it, there may really be a real opportunity for Linux to extend the life of otherwise potentially useless Windows XP systems. What we need is someone like Which! or other consumer related publications to publish a review of a suitable distro for 2GHz P4/early Core2 grade systems with modest memory and graphics capability as an alternative to sending a computer to the dump. I think that there would be some people who would consider this when given it as an alternative, especially if it is a relatively painless install, aimed at novice level technical experience (yes, it can be done)."

I totally agree. However, in my experience of trying to maintain a Windows-free house I have had to capitulate to my girlfriend and allow her to have a laptop with Windows 7 on there. It incenses me that she won't use the perfectly good laptop with LinuxMint on it because "she doesn't like it".

She uses Internet Explorer, uses Outlook, and all she does is watch sh*ting "Revenge" on 4OD. And for this reason, she will always remain the girlfriend and never earn the right of becoming my wife.

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Re: This doesn't alter the fact...

"It incenses me that she won't use the perfectly good laptop with LinuxMint on it because "she doesn't like it"."

Christ, talk about egotistical.

I suspect your girlfriend won't be losing any sleep over the prospect of never becoming your wife. Good on her.

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Meh

Re: This doesn't alter the fact... @wolfetone

Linux Mint or Win7 was not the choice I was setting. You are lucky enough to be able to afford a Win7 system for her, which makes it a style/fashion choice, unless there are Windows only packages that she needs to run (as opposed to being what she is used to).

If that was not an option, what would she and you have done? You didn't answer that question.

Would Win7 have been important enough to you (collectively) to drop a rent or mortgage payment, or not eat for a month? That is the question.

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Re: This doesn't alter the fact...

"She uses Internet Explorer, uses Outlook, and all she does is watch sh*ting "Revenge" on 4OD. And for this reason, she will always remain the girlfriend and never earn the right of becoming my wife."

Surprised she's even your girlfriend, with a disgusting idiotic attitude like that..

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Trollface

Re: This doesn't alter the fact...

" And for this reason, she will always remain the girlfriend and never earn the right of becoming my wife"

Good on you mate.. thats the way to treat 'em. Stand by your guns. You're free to have your own opinion, and right to voice it. (although it seems like she doesn't .hmmmm)

Ah, they should have never been given the vote !!!

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Re: This doesn't alter the fact...

I agree. If a PC does get infected, just reformat it and put XP back on. If all you're doing is web surfing, checking e-mail, and playing kid's games there's no valuable data on that PC. Who cares if it gets infected? My kid's XP PC doesn't even have an anti-virus tool on it. She just uses it to watch Youtube and play Minecraft.

At work, we 'll have XP machines well into 2020. We already have a Windows 3.1 machine and a few Windows 2000 machines which connect to the Internet and have never been infected. They sit behind a corporate firewall which blocks malicious websites, and the Windows 2000 machine runs an anti-virus and firewall program of its own. I just took a Windows 7 PC and replaced the OS with XP. We can't upgrade them because they run programs that can't be updated and use hardware that doesn't have updated drivers (think ISA and PCI cards), and they are vital for our business. We already have several replacements for the hardware in stock in case a card goes belly-up. I've imaged the machines so if for some reason a virus does get on there, I can just reimage it and get it back up and running in no time.

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WTF?

Re: This doesn't alter the fact...

So she's got her own opinions and likes/dislikes? And some of them do not exactly mirror yours?

The bitch.

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Re: This doesn't alter the fact...

"When the browsers on XP can no longer hack it, there may really be a real opportunity for Linux to extend the life of otherwise potentially useless Windows XP systems."

Yes, but people don't own (and keep) computers for their own sake, they own them to run software, none of which will work after a switch to Linux.

Assuming everyone simply does e-mail and browser-based stuff on an XP computer is daft.

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Re: This doesn't alter the fact...

Jesus, I was not expecting that.

Is my coat still there? Last saw it there hanging up along with my dignity. Oh no wait that's gone too.

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Trollface

Re: "she doesn't like it"

Perhaps it's time to surreptitiously subvert her PC experience by introducing subtle little annoyances (I imagine simply changing some permissions would do for a start) and then roll out the "Sorry, I don't do Windoze" routine when she asks for your assistance.

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