There will be no more support for the Microsoft Windows XP system
By Charles Miller
The end-of-life date for the venerable Microsoft Windows XP grows nearer by the hour, and as April 8th approaches a lot of the people still using XP are finally, belatedly starting to explore their options. One client of mine asked me if I could get Microsoft to extend the deadline for her in order to have more time to replace her aging computer. Well, I was truly flattered that anyone would think I had that kind of pull with the world’s largest computer Operating System maker, but rest assured that Microsoft is sticking to their plans and they are not likely to listen to me.
Rumors have been flying back and forth on a number of tech-related newsgroups, stories to the effect that several nation states have been pressuring Microsoft to once again push back the end-of-life date for Windows XP. Names of countries mentioned include Brazil, India, China and others. Confronted with the fact that the Chinese government owns many thousands of computers still running Windows XP and facing the prospect of having all of these systems at risk after April when Microsoft discontinues support, the Chinese government asked that the deadline be postponed again. I quote the official response from Redmond, Washington to Beijing:
“Microsoft works in partnership with industry and government in China to help create an environment that encourages entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation through the protection of intellectual property, as well as assisting in software legalization efforts in line with the nation’s policy priorities. We have seen great improvement in the adoption of genuine operating systems, productivity software and apps, as well as movement to cloud services, as a result of these efforts and we look forward to continued progress. Microsoft is committed to working with end-users, businesses and governments in China to migrate their systems to a modern OS that better protects against security threats and is designed for modern work and life usage scenarios.
“Every Windows product has a lifecycle, which begins when it is released and ends when it is no longer supported. For Windows XP, this lasted more than a decade. Customers will still be able to use Windows XP, but as a reminder, after April 8, 2014, Windows XP users will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft. We are very glad to see a great number of customers in China and all over the world obtaining tangible benefits of modernizing their IT investments from dramatically enhanced security, broad device choice to meet the needs of a mobile workforce, higher user productivity, and lower total cost of ownership by future-proofing their IT investments through deploying Windows 8.”
That was the 244-word version of the answer from Microsoft to the Chinese government. The short translation of that answer is “No.”
So, does this mean that all those thousands of Chinese XP computers shut down on April 8, or that your Windows XP system also quits? The answer is also NO! All those computers still using Window XP will continue working, absolutely so. The caveat is that after April there will be no more support for all those systems that someday, eventually, will need it.
The history of Windows XP over the last dozen years is that practically every month bugs are discovered, and those bugs are fixed. It is the same with Apple, Android, and all other Operating Systems; none of them are ever bug free. It is reasonable to assume that new bugs and security vulnerabilities will continue to be found in XP and after April they will not be fixed. This is the risk of continuing to use a non-supported software. Someday when help is needed it will not be there.
Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044-415-101-8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.