Come this April, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP, and the same thing was laid out for the company's anti-malware suite, Microsoft Security Essential. However, the software giant has changed its mind and have chosen to support Security Essentials until July 14, 2015. This means Windows XP users will have an additional year to go before it must abandon the operating system or risk getting invaded by malwares.
It is likely this move by Microsoft to reconsider its support for Security Essentials comes after Google announced that it would support Windows XP with Chrome updates until 2015. On the other hand, Microsoft might have chosen this route to please the many businesses that still have Windows XP on their systems, and are unable to upgrade at this point due to the cost of doing so.
"Microsoft has announced the Windows XP end of support date of April 8, 2014. After this date, Windows XP will no longer be a supported operating system*. To help organizations complete their migrations, Microsoft will continue to provide updates to our antimalware signatures and engine for Windows XP users through July 14, 2015," Microsoft's Malware Protection Center stated.
There's one single problem though, one that is very important. While Microsoft plans to support Security Essentials until 2015, it will only do so via updates. The software itself won't be up for download after April 8 of this year. This means if you're interested in running Windows XP for a prolonged period and require free anti-malware support; then it would be wise to download the software before it is no longer available on Microsoft servers.
Still, the best move for everyone running Windows XP right now is to upgrade themselves to a newer version of the operating system (we suggest Windows 7), or risk attack from hackers. Then again, many Windows XP users might want to wait out until Microsoft launches Windows 9 in 2015.
"Our research shows that the effectiveness of anti-malware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited," said Microsoft. "Running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today's threat landscape."
Recent NetMarketShare reports that Windows XP has a 28.98 percent of the market in December, which is second only to Windows 7 with 47.52 percent.