If you are still using Windows XP – or you know somebody who does – Microsoft would like you to remember that you only have 365 more days before the company will end all support for the operating system it launched in New York on October 25, 2001.
Both Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will go out of support on April 8, 2014, and XP users will stop receiving any new security updates, hot fixes and support (free or paid) from Microsoft.
Worldwide, just under 40 percent of all desktops and laptops still use XP today, according to the latest data from Net Applications’ NetMarketShare.
“If your organization has not started the migration to a modern desktop, you are late,” Stephen Rose, senior product manager for Windows Commercial, wrote in a blog post. He revealed that it takes an average company 18 to 32 months to reach full deployment, and urged businesses to begin planning and application testing “immediately,” to avoid issues later.
But don’t think that a simple upgrade from XP to Windows 7 or 8 — a “modern operating system,” according to Rose — will do the trick.
“You will need to do a clean install,” Rose said, meaning user data must be migrated and applications reinstalled on the new OS. More details on testing hardware and apps can be found on the Windows blog.
Rose warned that running XP SP3 and Office 2003 after support ends can expose companies to potential security risks. Even anti-virus software support won’t be enough, and vulnerabilities discovered in the operating system or applications running on it will remain unpatched and open to malware.
“Using XP after April 2014 is an ‘at your own risk’ situation for any customers choosing not to migrate,” Rose wrote.
Windows XP launched in 2001, and has been named Microsoft’s most popular OS of its time. Redmond has given users plenty of time to make the move; the software giant announced the news last April, two years before the shutdown, before the Windows 8 launch.