XP End of Support: What It Means & What You You Can Do.

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The Home Depot and Target breaches reportedly could have been avoided by upgrading to Windows 7 for Embedded Systems. Read here. 


XP End of Support: What does this mean?

- Microsoft  no longer invests any resources to maintain or update XP.

What will you experience if you do not upgrade?

-          Security Vulnerabilities:

o   Each week, Microsoft releases security patches for each of their current operating systems. Since April 8th 2014, these patches have not been made for XP. PCs with XP are more vulnerable to viruses, spyware and other malicious software.

-          Compliance Issues :

o   Laws require certain industries to comply with security regulations, such as HIPPA. If using XP, industries regulated by HIPPA, and others, are no longer compliant with the law because of the lack of security with XP.

-          Lack of Software Support:

o   You will no longer receive free, or paid, support from Microsoft for XP.

o Newly released software will not run on XP. 

-          Hardware Compatibility:

o   Drivers, or programs that machines run on, for new devices such as printers, scanners, routers, etc., are not available for XP machines. For instance, if you purchase a brand new printer and you are still running Windows XP, that printer will not print anything sent from the XP machine.


Plan for eventual migration:

If your organization remains on XP, and upgrades over time, here are some suggestions:


-          When I upgrade, should I choose Windows 7 or Windows 8?

o   Windows 7: The migration will be quicker and lower risk when moving to Windows 7. It is stable and well supported by applications; Windows 8 is not widely supported by third part apps.

o   Windows 8: Businesses with a high need for tablet PCs, or those wanting to future-proof their organizations should opt for Windows 8.


-          Upgrade the machines that use email and the internet first:

o   Computers that access the internet are more prone to security compromises. If on XP, your computer is less protected from malware. If replacing all your machines at once is a budget-buster, prioritize by upgrading machines that use the internet and email. Keeping XP machines off the internet when possible will allow you to safely use them.

-          If you use 3rd party apps and software….

o   Call your provider to see what operating systems they will support and if running XP is an issue.

-          Until you upgrade, use Chrome or Firefox

o   Chrome and Firefox will be more secure because they will continue to support XP. Internet Explorer 8, which is already several generations old,  it is the most recent version available for Windows XP. Internet Explorer will no longer receive security patches. 


Here is a more detailed article about the things that you can do to enhance your security if you remain on XP :