Highlights and Updates

Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP after April 8th 2014.

Wednesday, 5th February 2014

Microsoft will stop providing updates as well as technical support for Windows XP after April 8th 2014.

How does this affect you if you are using Windows XP?

If you are using a legitimate (i.e. not pirated) version of Windows XP you should receive or be able to receive updates from Microsoft every month. These updates contain improvements for the operating system to function more reliably and in terms of Security they contain fixes (also known as patches) for any of the latest security holes discovered in the operating system. These holes if un-patched could be exploited by either 1. Malicious software (Viruses and the like) or 2. People attempting to get unauthorized access to your computer(Hackers).

On April 8th 2014 Microsoft will provide its final batch of these updates for Windows XP. After this date any new Security vulnerabilities discovered will no longer be corrected and Windows XP will contain these vulnerabilities forever. Therefore along with your OS (operating system) becoming increasingly incompatible with newer Hardware and Software over time, it will also become increasingly more insecure. In fact because newer Windows OSs (such as Windows 7 or 8.1) share a significant amount of code with Windows XP, subsequent security patches released for them after April 2014 could potentially be reverse engineered by cyber-criminals to reveal the corresponding security holes in un-patched Windows XP computers, and these could be quickly exploited.

What options do you have?

The first and obvious option is to upgrade to a new Operating System. Microsoft recommends you to upgrade to either one of its newer OSs: Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. However depending on if your computer meets their system requirements this may require you to to buy a new computer. If your running a computer that does not meet those system requirements but you would like to extend your computers use, you could consider installing Ubuntu (Linux), an open source and free OS which has had very few problems with Viruses.

Continue with Windows XP?

If you would like to continue with Windows XP after the April deadline, Microsoft will continue to maintain its activation server for anyone who would like to activate their Windows XP licence and all the patches and security updates will be available for download. Therefore please update your OS with all of the patches and updates up to April 8th 2014 and install a good antivirus which should be updated regularly with the latest virus definitions. However please remember that you will still be at risk because an anti-virus cannot secure the underlying vulnerability of the OS, Microsoft says its research shows "that the effectiveness of anti-virus solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited".

If you still need to keep your Windows XP OS to perform a specific function remember that the more isolated it is from any outside connections such as the internet, a local network or USB drives, the less likely it is to get infected with any Malicious software and to have any unauthorized person access it.

More information

For more information visit Microsofts official page dedicated to this topic here or here.