All Windows XP Security Updates To End In 2014

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has announced it will finally stop supporting Windows XP in April of 2014. The decision leaves users of that operating system (OS) out in the cold, without security updates or support of any kind from the software giant.

The company had already begun phasing out support for the original versions of XP and currently offers support only for copies containing the final batch of updates for the software, Service Pack 3 (SP3).

Even Windows XP with SP3 has already reached the "extended support" phase. As a result, Microsoft issues free security updates, but offers tech support on a paid basis only and no longer honors any warranty claims. (Source:

Date Extends Microsoft's Usual Schedule

The final time frame for withdrawing support of XP is far longer than Microsoft's usual policy, which lays down a minimum period for support that can be affected by the release dates of new versions of software.

In this case, the lengthy support period for XP will ultimately total more than 13 years. This is the result of the unusually-long six-year gap between Windows XP (released in 2001) and Vista (released in 2007).

With the current release schedule, the total support period for Vista and its successors will almost certainly be capped at 10 years. (Source:

Under the company's usual policy, by the time Microsoft removes support from an operating system, it is outdated and not widely used. However, many people still use Windows XP and show no signs of migrating to a newer operating system.

Windows XP Remains Surprisingly Popular

There are several reasons why Windows XP is still so popular:

  • Windows XP remains a fairly reliable and easy-to-use OS.
  • Vista has been widely regarded as a disappointment, obstructing the usual upgrade path.
  • Windows 7 came along at a time of economic uncertainty, prompting some users not to buy a new computer or upgrade from Windows XP.

Even if XP's market share continues to fall, the venerable OS may still have a significant number of users when Microsoft totally cuts support in April 2014.

This puts XP users in a difficult position, because when Microsoft stops issuing security updates, there's a danger that Windows XP machines will become more vulnerable than ever to hackers.

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