Windows Springboard Series Blog
Today marks the start of the 1-year countdown of when we stop supporting Windows XP. Many of you saw the post this morning on the Windows For Your Businessblog. Over the past few months I have gotten a lot of questions on what that means exactly. Here are some answers to help explain what end of support is and what you need to do to move to a modern OS like Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Microsoft will end Extended Support on April 8, 2014. Why?
In 2002, Microsoft introduced its Support Lifecycle policy based on customer feedback to have more transparency and predictability of support for Microsoft products. Per this policy, Microsoft Business and Developer products – including Windows and Office products – receive a minimum of 10 years of support (five years Mainstream Support and five years Extended Support), at the supported service pack level. Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will go out of support on April 8, 2014. If your organization has not started the migration to a modern desktop, you are late. Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment. To ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office, you should begin your planning and application testing immediately to ensure you deploy before end of support.
What is the difference between extended and mainstream support?
Think of mainstream support as “full”. In other words, mainstream support means Microsoft supports a product with its full offerings including paid incident support, hotfix support, security updates, etc. This support for Windows XP ended in April of 2009.
When a product enters the extended support “phase”, the game changes:
- Extended support is only available for commercial customers
- We still provide security updates at no charge to all customers
What does End of Support mean to customers?
Simply, it means you should take action to move off of Windows XP. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates. Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:
- Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.
- Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Hardware Manufacturers support: Back in 2011, many independent software vendors (ISVs) were already unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP.
Microsoft will keep hosting all patches and service packs released through April of 2014, but no new updates will be released after this date.
I heard that my anti-virus software company will continue to support Windows XP after April 8, 2014. Does that mean I am protected?
No. Securing an operating system requires a multiple layers of defense and an anti-malware is just one part of the end-to-end security stack. When EOS for Windows XP occurs on April 8, 2014 and Windows is no longer being serviced, the system and any anti-malware solutions deployed to it will no longer be able to protect the device, user and data against new and emerging threats. Vulnerabilities that are discovered in Windows XP or possibly even applications running on it will remain unpatched and many types of malware will be able to take permanent residence within devices. This can occur even if the device is running an up to date anti-malware solution. Based on this, it’s critical that organizations and consumers migrate to a modern operating system.
XP users how do you feel about the end of support in a year and what will you do then?