After a great 12 year run, Microsoft will finally put the last nail of the coffin for Windows XP support. However, a large percentage of Windows users still rely on the trusty old operating system for their daily computing needs.
More than a decade after it was first released, Windows XP still accounts for around 30% of the market share. With Microsoft finally pulling the plug on XP support, millions of XP users will be left out in the cold.
"Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years," says Microsoft. "But now the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences."
"As a result, after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC," Microsoft says. "Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date."
Aside from individual users, hundreds, if not thousands, of companies and government agencies around the world still use Windows XP for a wide variety of tasks. These entities will face the greatest risk when support ends since Microsoft's security updates are essential to keeping PCs safe from security breaches.
"PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014, should not be considered to be protected, and it is important that you migrate to a current supported operating system - such as Windows 8.1 - so you can receive regular security updates to protect their computer from malicious attacks," adds Microsoft.
Microsoft has given relevant parties ample time to prepare for the upcoming termination of support services. While migrating to a different OS would be a simple matter for individuals, the problem is a lot more complicated for large organizations with thousands of computers. The US government alone uses large number of computers running on XP. Given that many of these computers are involved in classified and essential government operations, updated security is not an option. Government agencies are still struggling with the issue and Microsoft has been unwilling to budge on their deadline.
For the average user however, Microsoft recommends an upgrade to a supported operating system. For a small number of users who use PCs for simple tasks such as word processing or playing Minesweeper, the news isn't very relevant. For everyone else on still on XP however, ignoring the termination of support puts your computer, your personal information and your personal files at risk of malware, hackers and prying eyes.