Say goodbye to Windows XP (and Windows 7)

Things change, whether you want them to or not.


On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP. If you’re still running a Windows XP computer on April 8, assume that it will be owned by the bad guys before the end of April. It’s that black and white. There will be no mercy and no excuses. If you haven’t taken all Windows XP computers out of service by April 2014, you and your business will be vulnerable to data theft, identity theft, PC vandalism, viruses, and malware.

“End of support” means Microsoft will not issue any more security updates for Windows XP or Office 2003. The bad guys are probably already stockpiling zero-day exploits – methods of getting a virus on a Windows XP computer for which there is no patch. After April 8, every exploit will be a zero-day exploit.

The director of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing division put it this way:

“There is a sense of urgency because after April 8, Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.  This means that any new vulnerabilities discovered in Windows XP after its “end of life” will not be addressed by new security updates from Microsoft.”

There are still too many businesses running Windows XP to save a buck because the hardware isn’t technically dead.

Replace those computers. Not later – now.


Microsoft stopped selling retail copies of Windows 7 to distributors on October 30. Packaged copies will likely be available for months or perhaps years from at least a few retailers who stockpile extra copies, but Microsoft’s official stance is that Windows 7 is off the retail market.

Last week Microsoft briefly posted a notice that Windows 7 would not be shipped on any new computers after October 30, 2014. That’s a more serious cutoff date because Microsoft can enforce it. It means no more computers shipped with Windows 7 from Dell or HP or any of the other OEMs.

The notice was quickly taken down and Microsoft now says that the end of Windows 7 sales is “to be determined.” The best guess from industry watchers is that Microsoft fully intends to end sales after October 30 but it has no desire to call attention to that now. It fits Microsoft’s pattern of ending OEM sales two years after release of a newer version of Windows.

Perhaps you won’t miss Windows 7 by next October. By then we will have an update to Windows 8 intended to mollify business users who spend most of their time on the traditional Windows desktop. A new team at Microsoft has taken over Windows development and the latest rumors suggest that a real Start menu will return on at least some versions of the next Windows 8 upgrade, and that it will be possible to run Metro apps in floating windows on the desktop rather than full screen.

And the changes keep coming!

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