back to article Microsoft warns of post-April zero day hack bonanza on Windows XP

Microsoft has a Windows XP problem: people still like it and aren't willing to upgrade just yet. So it's warning users that if they don’t upgrade soon, hackers will lie in wait each new Patch Tuesday to reverse-engineer a full set of new vulnerabilities. "The very first month that Microsoft releases security updates for …

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FAIL

What a pity you couldn't didn't read the comments.

Sisk: "Gimp works as a direct functional replacement for Photoshop"

Me: "GIMP is not a direct functional replacement for Photoshop."

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Erm, GIMP is not a direct functional replacement for Photoshop.

I suppose that depends on what you're asking it to do. For professional photography and the like you're probably right. However, speaking as a web designer, I used Gimp in a professional capacity for several years until I was forced to buy Photoshop. (In case you're wondering one of my classes when I decided to go back to college required Photoshop. Otherwise I'd probably still be using Gimp.). I think Photoshop is a better program, but I don't think there's enough of o difference, at least for what I do with it, to justify its rather obscene price tag.

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"Erm, GIMP is not a direct functional replacement for Photoshop. "

I know several professional photographers who use Linux, but they don't just use Gimp. There are a number of RAW photo conversion/editing/tweeking programs that are available.

Personally I do as little to a RAW photo as possible maybe resize/tweek exposure/tweek the curves/ unsharp/save in appropriate format usually.

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"...learned to get around DEP"... Haha.

Anyway, dear XP users: get Windows 7. It's heaps better than XP (yes, it is), and it's supported until 2020, by which time Windows 8 might be usable or Android available for real computers.

Alternatively, if you don't want W7 and can't wait until W8/Android gets their PC acts together: Linux Mint (with Cinnamon or MATE, or XFCE if you have an old computer) is really nice and you'll feel right at home.

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"Anyway, dear XP users: get Windows 7."

Good. You buy the hardware to replace the hardware I have that is still working, I'll load Win7 on it.

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That would be a good fit for Linux Mint with XFCE then.

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Actually, Win 7 runs surprisingly well on most hardware running XP in my limited experience. I've tried it on an Athlon XP system and it ran fine (although it did have 3 Gb of memory).

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Look at peripheral support.....

SCSI

Soundblaster

etc.

Not all hardware has manufacturer supported drivers

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Windows

15%

"According to recent data, 15 per cent of IT managers running XP don't even realize support is ending..."

Is this level of ignorance normal, or are they just trying not to think about it?

The tramp: I've not made it into management yet

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Gold badge

Not their fault

"But the deliberate creation of a situation of 100s of millions of machines on the internet open to vulnerabilities published by M$ is cyber blackmail on a gargantuan scale. This policy, based entirely on M$'s need to generate revenue from new OS license sales, could result in a step increase in the proportion of compromised devices on the Internet from which to launch attacks on everyone else."

Windows had and has poor security. People knew that quite well through the entire service life of XP and afterwards but choose to keep buying Windows anyway (although, that is the one issue isn't it, people now are getting nothing -- and keeping using XP -- rather than buying Window 7, or 8, or going to a better OS entirely). Although Microsoft did behave as an illegal monopolist... nevertheless, nobody forced people to buy XP. They didn't force people to keep using XP and have in fact encouraged people to switch off XP for years. And, by 2014 when patches are discontinued they will have provided free patches for *13* years. This is no deliberate creation of anything, and not blackmail by any means.

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Linux

Windows has had poor security ?

Since when, I can remember when Microsoft was advertising Windows XP as devoid of potential buffer overflows .. ref

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Re: Not their fault

nobody forced people to buy XP

Half truth that. For a long time if you wanted a computer and were unable or unwilling to pay Apple's outlandish prices and weren't a geek able to build your own, you got XP. No, they weren't exactly forced to buy XP, but they weren't exactly given a choice either.

They didn't force people to keep using XP and have in fact encouraged people to switch off XP for years

That is true.

This is no deliberate creation of anything, and not blackmail by any means.

That is also true. What they are saying is that they're not going to continue offering patches for a product that they haven't sold in a long time, but the patches they offer for their current products can and likely will be reverse engineered by malware peddlers. It's rather like telling a child 'If you don't eat lunch you'll be hungry before it's time for supper" (a frequent conversation at my house). This isn't blackmail. This is stern warning.

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Well XP will be running on my old laptop for as long as I can keep it going, no other operating system plays nicely with Civ 3 (the Civ3 complete edition is by far the best civ)

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Size matters. @Martin 47

" Well XP will be running on my old laptop for as long as I can keep it going, no other operating system plays nicely"........

Too right.

I don't plan on scrapping my modestly powered netbook. It's the size of an iPad, but with a sensible keyboard.

I quite like Win7 but enormous and unusable on my older kit.

So XP or, finally, reluctantly, Linux.

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Re: Size matters. @Martin 47

"I quite like Win7 but enormous and unusable on my older kit."

No worse than XP Sp3 in my experience - it got slimmed down mightily from Vista in order to fit onto Netbooks (and simultaneously torpedoed the good ship "upgrade your PC every 18 months to cope with bloatware")

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""According to recent data, 15 per cent of IT managers running XP don't even realize support is ending..."

Is this level of ignorance normal, or are they just trying not to think about it?"

Probably normal. You have that set of people who are an "IT manager" because they know how to stick a Windows disk in + install the updates. They do nothing to streamline the process, they do not read any IT news whatsoever, they do not research ever replacing or upgrading the software. They just have a few computers they are tasked with keeping running, and that is about it.

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Silver badge

This sensationalist headline is a good test to see if people actually read the article

Given some of the responses here, suggesting this is "deliberate creation of..." or "sabotage" seems to indicate they do not.

Hate to be seen as defending MS, but they've been supporting it for over a decade now. How long is long enough?

I'm personally more concerned about the fact they never released a second service pack for Windows 7, because they didn't want to extend its support date (they guarantee support 5 years after the release of the last SP) So support for Windows 7 ends in about 2 1/2 years. After such a long support life for XP, there are going to be a lot of people caught out if MS goes through with obsoleting Windows 7 so quickly. Especially since most businesses only recently completed migrating from XP to Windows 7, and few have any desire to migrate corporate desktops/laptops to Windows 8.

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Anonymous Coward

MS is getting desperate on Windows 8x

I suspect this is much more to do with poor sales of their new flagship product than anything else!

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Re: MS is getting desperate on Windows 8x

> this is much more to do with poor sales of their new flagship product

Yes, that is a factor. WinXP users are supposed to switch to Win8, and the date to end support was chosen to coincide with assumed drop-off in initial demand for Win8 (didn't quite play out like that, but the best laid plans...).

And boy oh boy, are those XP users ever in for a treat.

But perhaps it's easier to go to Win8 for those who have not experienced Win7, as Win8 has a lot of improvements in reliability and security compared to XP but not compared to 7.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS is getting desperate on Windows 8x

There are still OEM-licenced copies of Windows 7 Home Premium (32bit, 64bit, you choose) available from a well known etailer (checked earlier today). And not even via their Marketplace; direct from the big river themselves. Possibly a better option than Windows 8.anything. Buy now while stocks last.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS is getting desperate on Windows 8x

Yabut - you'll be non-compliant with the terms of an OEM license if you install that software on anything other than a brand new machine.

Might just as well install a pirated copy.

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Re: MS is getting desperate on Windows 8x

There are still OEM-licenced copies of Windows 7 Home Premium (32bit, 64bit, you choose) available from a well known etailer (checked earlier today). And not even via their Marketplace; direct from the big river themselves. Possibly a better option than Windows 8.anything. Buy now while stocks last.

Or OEM editions that have been separated from their original machines (Dell etc.) without being activated, for about 40% of the retail price. They're all over ebay Germany.

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Gimp

Re: MS is getting desperate on Windows 8x

"And boy oh boy, are those XP users ever in for a treat."

No, unless they like wearing the mask....

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Re: MS is getting desperate on Windows 8x

In retrospect I should probably have indicated that I was using sarcasm when I said "boy oh boy, are those XP users ever in for a treat", but I thought it was obvious.

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Re: MS is getting desperate on Windows 8x

@AC 20:46

The end of life date for Windows XP was published long before the release of even Windows 7, let alone Windows 8. The idea that this is some sort of reaction to sales levels is ridiculous, unless you're suggesting Microsoft has psychics on staff.

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Re: MS is getting desperate on Windows 8x

"Yabut - you'll be non-compliant with the terms of an OEM license if you install that software on anything other than a brand new machine."

Yabut - Can they tell the difference between an upgraded prebuilt and a homebuilt? How much of a computer must be upgraded with new parts before it can be declared a new computer? And so on...

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Re: MS is getting desperate on Windows 8x

How much of a computer must be upgraded with new parts before it can be declared a new computer? And so on...

Pretty much anything - new mobo, new CPU, new GFX. You can stick more RAM or hard drives in without re-triggering activation.

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Yes, because no company would ever do that ever. Buy new biological biz, it keeps your clothes clesner and fesher for longer. Just like our last product claimed to, and the product before that. When people bought XP all those years ago there was no suggestion that they would still be using it 13 hears later. Microsoft was sipposed to end aupport for it much earlier but decided to extend it to give companies (banks) the chance to move. Bottom line is that whether you salivating bunch of MS hating retards agree or not, Windows 8 is the fastest and most secure Windows OS to date. Just like XP was when it came out.

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OEM has always been about the motherboard

what XP will activate on or the Microsoft phone registration staff will give you a code for is irrelevant. OEM Windows is tied to the motherboard. If the motherboard dies it must be replaced by a comparable motherboard (same one or generation, not an upgrade).

the only differences between OEM and retail are the motherboard lock, lack of telephone support and the inability to resell the license (although selling the motherboard/PC with the license is ok). It's all in the license terms, it's just that most people choose to ignore them..

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Works for me

XP = classic

Cue multiple votes either way...

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Trollface

Nice OS you have there... shame if something happened to it...

I'm not sure if this is Bad Ballmer Steve's "The Operation", in which he promises to beat people up if they pay him the protection money, or whether it already is "The Other Operation", in which he promises not to beat people up if they don't pay him the protection money.

(This is of course a Flying Circus reference)

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Trollface

Re: Nice OS you have there... shame if something happened to it...

If they ever upgrade to "The Other Other Operation", we're all stuffed...

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To be fair to Microsoft this is 12 year old product and they have said for years they will not continue to support it. Apart from mainframes how many other OS or software releases are still actively supported 10 years after release? It costs money to continue to develop updates for windows XP and no organisation is going to continue developing something for free indefinitely. Microsoft are just pointing out that every flaw and vulnerability they fix in VISTA, 7 and 8 will be checked by those with malicious intent to see if XP has the same flaw.

I guess if there is a call for it maybe the AV vendors can potentially scan for and block any malware extending the life somewhat for those that arent ready to make the jump to something newer. Not as good as fixing the problem though.

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It really annoys me . . .

. . .that you describe XP as a 12 year old product. I have computers that were bought new only 4 to 5 years ago running XP so I expect them to do a few more years yet. Not a large enterprise, I grant you, but I am sure there are lots of other SMBs in the same boat.

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Mushroom

Re: It really annoys me . . .

Quite, What has age got to do with it?

For a lot of applications they work better running on XP than they do on W7. We don't have these silly File Explorer bugs pn XP when we have two or more such windows open. We don't lose things from the network all the time with XP.

Until the Windows XP Compatability environment has gone, along with the need for it (i.e. make good legitimate code by your own rules MS continue to work) then, yes, I will happily upgrade.

You made the rules, Microsoft. We followed them now you do so the same.

And as for age? What's that got to do with it? I'd rather play a nice pre-CBS strat than a modern one fewer than twelve years old. I'd rather drive an old Jaguar rather than a modern version, I would rather have a 2 Series Landie to go off the metalled highway rather than a modern townie version. The list goes on and on.

There is nothing wrong with XP. It may have started off badly but it's ended up as a fine product and certainly a lot better for a lot of people than Win 7. But this is nothing to do with age; it's all about selling more licences.

Okay, sell me a set of licences then, Microsoft, but only for a better operating system. When you come out with one then do let me know.

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Re: It really annoys me . . .

@Roger Greenwood: " I have computers that were bought new only 4 to 5 years ago running XP"

And the Windows lifecycle roadmap then was telling you then exactly what it's telling you today, support was ending in 2014. If that wasn't sufficient for your needs, perhaps you should ask yourself why you chose to buy machines with XP.

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Re: It really annoys me . . .

"And the Windows lifecycle roadmap then was telling you then exactly what it's telling you today, support was ending in 2014. If that wasn't sufficient for your needs, perhaps you should ask yourself why you chose to buy machines with XP."

@ElAndy - exactly what I thought when I read Greenwood's post.

Where is the forward planning, where is informing the business of a strategy to get them through the next 5 years say? Don't the suppliers you work with or if you are the IT person work up a budget and a plan that carries you through?

In the business I work for we are constantly informing our customers of what the future looks like from out view point, helping them plan and keep viable. We have no one on such old software OS or applications.

We have just bought a British compnay with about 40 customers with software investmenst of over £80k and we find some have XP, so we have lept on them all and are putting change paths in place.

Why the fuck did the company that we took over no do this? Because they had no business sense and were amateurs, which is why we got them for a song. So now their customesr are going through some turmoil of fix the problem.

Isn't part of the role of IT in any size of company or any services supplier to stop the company getting into a cul de sac?

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Re: 12 year old product

To be fair to Microsoft, Windows 8 is basically a 12 year old product dressed up to look new and shiny!

Note what MS are really saying in this release, is that Windows 8 contains many of the same vulnerabilities as Win7 and XP, because significant amounts of the code base is the same across all products...

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Alien

Re: It really annoys me . . . ( me too! )

Riddle me this. The Chevy Corvette was RTM'd in 1953. How old is a 2008 Corvette?

WinXP(sp3) dates to April 2008. If you install that WinXP(sp3) CDROM or ISO today quite a large amount of files are stamped to that very date. If you have allowed Microsoft to support it with automatic updates ever since you will have a large amount of core files dated much more recently. So this 12 year old OS thing is really getting annoying. Look here ...

( 2006-Nov ) Vista RTM

( 2008-Feb ) Vista SP1

( 2008-Apr ) Windows XP SP3

( 2009-Jul ) Windows 7 RTM

The bulk of the files in WinXP(sp3) actually are newer than Vista RTM and Vista SP1 and just a year younger than Windows 7 RTM.

But even more importantly is the fact touched on in this article and the source blog post at Microsoft - there are gobs and gobs of shared code. Look here ...

"... from July 2012 through July 2013, Windows XP received 45 patches, 30 of which were relevant to Windows 7 and 8 as well ..."

Understand what they are saying: despite all their marketing lies and FUD about "12 years old" there is substantial overlap and that overlap has been receiving patches but no longer will after next spring. On one hand they are using "12 years old" as a negative but on the other hand they are admitting that parts of Windows Vista, 7 and 8 are also 12 years old. Oh yes, they are. Talk about having it both ways.

Methinks that the real goal here is to get everyone on the same page, and that means using a government spook approved post-9/11 post-PRISM operating system ( Windows 6.x ) that has been designed from the ground up to be easily penetrated when the feds come calling. Tin-foil conspiracy? Only if you are Rip Van Winkle.

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$12bn Opportunity

"At last year's Worldwide Partners Conference, Microsoft described the upgrade market for Windows XP as a $12bn opportunity for the channel. "

All they need to cash in on that $12bn is a decent XP replacement. Pity that it seems to be beyond their skill level.

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Windows

Re: $12bn Opportunity

MS should develop a TRUE replacement for XP. Considering that most XP machines out there are 4+ years old, an operating system that will run on that old hardware is needed.

Let's not forget that with the Great Recession there are a lot of consumers and organizations that would find it difficult or impossible to replace all that old hardware.

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Re: $12bn Opportunity

Isn't it a 12 billion opp. for some LINUX shops to spring up offering a one stop shop to move a business over.

Typical small engineering company that might have mail, word proc, accounting, warehousing/stores, planing and shop floor loading, import documentation and HMRC tax filing. Put together a package deal and you could have a profitable offering.

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Re: $12bn Opportunity

>Pity that it seems to be beyond their skill level.

It also seems that like many companies Microsoft has lost it's hard nosed commercialism. Hollywood, given the success of XP, would of come out with a whole string of sequels and expanded the franchise, MS an IT company is doing it's utmost to kill the thing off...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: $12bn Opportunity

"Isn't it a 12 billion opp. for some LINUX shops to spring up offering a one stop shop to move a business over."

"Put together a package deal and you could have a profitable offering."

Exactly. This is the nightmare scenario for MS, and if they haven't seen it coming, they must be complete idiots.

For years they've been able to rely on their ecosystem of certified Microsoft Dependent Business Partners.

Now the smart ones are realising that all is not well in their world; MS want to move the business to The Cloud (external or internal) and much of the "value add" from the Microsoft Certified ecosystem will no longer be saleable. The alleged $12bn opportunity is a mirage.

So the former Microsoft Certified are soon likely to be forming plans to get their customers to stay with them (but not necessarily with MS). If they haven't already done so. Won't that be interesting.

It may take a little while longer before it really hurts MS themselves, but outside MS, it's not a good time to be MS dependent.

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Re: 4+ year old hardware

Are seriously saying that Win 7 won't run adequately on hardware like Intel Core 2 Duos and Quads? or older AMD Opetron and Phenoms? granted, you might have to scrounge up some RAM to make sure the the machine 2 GB available. But Win 7 will run perfectly in that sort of hardware.

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Joke

Of course, there is ONE solution...

They could make Windows XP Open source.

Of course pigs might fly on their own, not when rocketed by humans, but I digress.

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Re: Of course, there is ONE solution...

I know this has been discussed in Redmond! And still a (very very) small possibility

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Facepalm

Re: Of course, there is ONE solution...

And let the world know how spaghetti coded or otherwise how badly their old Flagship XP OS really are coded? Someone would go through it and come up with a version of open source XP, half the size, twice as fast, with much better security, all within a few months. That would never do.

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Re: Of course, there is ONE solution... @ITS Retired

"XP, half the size, twice as fast, with much better security"

Never mind Open Source. If only MS had just done that itself instead of wasting effort on snazzy (read tasteless) new looks to Windows.

In fact, the preoccupation with interface over underlying efficiency is probably a product of the unholy alliance with an Intel wishing to shift faster processors.

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Boffin

Re: Of course, there is ONE solution...

...or one could just try ReactOS [1], which is basically an open-source XP. Granted, it isn't quite production quality yet, but it just might be by the time the switch is pulled...

[1] - http://www.reactos.org/

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