Microsoft South Africa has officially pulled the plug on Windows XP support.
As of 8 April 2014 there will be no more updates, or free and paid support for the PC operating system.
Windows XP was released in 2001 and quickly established a broad fan base amongst business users and regular consumers. This popularity saw the OS being supported with free updates beyond the normal 10 year period (5 years mainstream support plus another 5 years extended support) for operating system software.
After more than 13 years, however, technology has progressed to such an extent that Windows XP is no longer the most practical OS choice to make for either corporate – or home users. Microsoft will no longer continue to release security updates, patches and bug fixes for Windows XP.
Those users who are running Windows XP after 8 April 2014 should consider their businesses or home networks much more susceptible to viruses, malware, and hackers who are looking to prey upon OS vulnerabilities. These types of attacks not only cause downtime, but can also put customers’ information and business data at risk.
In addition, vendors will no longer support products that are running on Windows XP, translating into incompatibility of new hardware and software with XP. The risks of system failure and business disruption could also rise due to the End of Support, lack of supported software, as well as aging hardware running Windows XP.
The way forward for businesses is to upgrade their IT infrastructure and for consumers to make the leap to a safer, better and more modern platform like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. The latter provides enterprise grade security, as it is six times more secure than Windows XP, and has been designed from the ground up to meet the challenges of today’s corporate environment.
“Windows XP was a huge success for Microsoft, as a record number of users adopted this operating system for more than a decade. However, innovation and technological advancement always takes new steps, leaving behind previous innovations and the same has happened with Windows XP. The time has finally come for the OS veteran to pass the baton on to its successors, most notably Windows 8.1,” says Anthony Doherty, Windows and Surface Business Group Lead at Microsoft SA.
There will be a number of Windows XP upgrade initiatives, mainly focused on the small to medium business market, from Microsoft and partners, in the next few months. For example Vodacom and Microsoft will be offering some great value bundles with connectivity from May 2014, and many other retailers will be offering both hardware and software deals to entice the remaining XP users to move up to the latest offering from Microsoft, Window 8.1.