After 12 years of service Microsoft’s uber popular operating system, Windows XP, has finally died out of use. Microsoft announced seven years ago that they would end its service updating patches for the antiquated system, and it seems that day has finally come.
Launched in 2001, Windows XP is estimated to still be installed on as much as 30 percent of personal computers, and is still used on many specialty computing devices like ATM’s.
The latter fact makes information technology departments uneasy because as Microsoft ends its service updating security patches, holes will be opened up to allow hackers to compromise the systems.
Microsoft has issued a containment strategy for those users that are going to continue using XP systems. First, it is suggested that all available patch data be downloaded and updated. In order to prevent security leaks they suggest downgrading user rights so administrator settings cannot be accessed. To stop outside malware from entering the vulnerable system Microsoft suggests blocking access to all exterior USB ports as removable storage devices like flash drives are the easiest way to introduce a virus.
The best way to protect sensitive information on these systems is to upgrade, which Microsoft is offering rebates to switch out old XP consoles for the newer Windows 8, or a software upgrade to Windows 7.1 which is still being updated with security patches.
Research suggests that governments around the world are still using Windows XP and they are going to have to play catch up in order to secure personal and classified information from the prying eyes of Internet hackers. Many small local governments and agencies are going to find if difficult to loosen an already strapped budget to upgrade their entire computer fleet to a more secure operating system.
For a nominal fee, companies can purchase an extended support package from Microsoft. The UK government is reportedly paying Microsoft £5.5 million (nearly $11 million) to extend service for one more year. Other European countries are said to be following suit. The Dutch interior ministry signed their own deal with Microsoft to protect their estimated 40,000 government-owned machines still running XP.
For those still using the outdated software, they may not encounter trouble right away, but be prepared for third party hardware and software to not accommodate the Windows XP operating system.
Google is lining up at the opportunity of hundreds of consumers needing a new computer, offering great deals on their Chromebook. To celebrate the death of Windows XP after 12 years, Google is offering up $100 off every Chromebook as well as 25 percent off their Citrix XenApp, which can convert information from the customers XP system to Google’s Chrome OS.
Windows 8 has sold 200 million licenses but is still lagging behind the success of Windows 7, which sold more than 300 million in a 15-month span. Many users have expressed dismay over the new operating system, which has a new user interface foreign to most familiar with Windows. Windows XP had a great run of 12 years, and like a phoenix, where one OS dies out another more sophisticated system rises in its place.
By Cody Long