Microsoft gives a small break to Windows XP shops

For those shops that aren’t completely off Windows XP yet, two pieces of almost-good news: One, you’re definitely not alone, and two, Microsoft is extending some security programs before end-of-life this April. 

First, the company announced it would continue to provide updates to its anti-malware signatures through July 14, 2015. Last year, it claimed it wouldn’t be doing that. According to a post on its site:

For enterprise customers, this applies to System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection and Windows Intune running on Windows XP. For consumers, this applies to Microsoft Security Essentials.

Then came more news: The company’s Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), a popular anti-malware download would also be extended through July 14, 2015.

End of life still matters

This doesn’t mean companies are off the hook for migrating away from Windows XP. End of life is still a very big deal.

Come April 8 of this year, XP users will no longer receive:

  • paid or free support from Microsoft
  • new security updates
  • non-security hotfixes, or
  • online technical updates.

That means that machines still running XP (some figures put that around 30% of total traffic on the web) will be more vulnerable. Hackers target these outdated machines for botnets and malware. In short: It’s a horrible place to be.

Post-Windows XP options

So where do you go from here? Windows 7 could be a popular option due to its less frustrating layout than Windows 8 and more familiar feel. But its end of life isn’t so far off either.

For companies with lots of mobile users, Windows 8 might be the better option as its tiles are designed for mobile. But users hate those tiles almost as much as the blue screen of death.

But the picture just got a little cloudier, too. Rumors have Windows 9 coming out April of 2015. One can only speculate where that will lie on the XP to Vista disaster range. And it’s a tough call to bet your next operating system on rumors at this point.

How does this news affect your upgrade plans? Or are you already set? Let us know in the comments section below.

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