Microsoft Extends Support for Some Windows XP Users

Dennis Faas's picture

A new report reveals that Microsoft won't kill support for all Windows XP users. However, continuing to receive crucial security updates for the aging operating system won't be cheap.

Microsoft has repeatedly insisted that users of Windows XP move away from the decade-old operating system (OS) by April 2014, when support for the OS officially ends.

For most users, that means Microsoft will no longer make or distribute security patches designed to keep the OS safe from hackers.

'Custom Support' Extends XP's Life -- For a Price

But not everyone is being cut off in April 2014. According to a new report, Microsoft will offer some users a program known as "Custom Support" for years beyond 2014.

So, who will figure into the program?

Mostly large organizations that, for whatever reason, have no interest in upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8. But Custom Support won't be cheap -- in fact, it will reportedly cost a firm about $200 for every single Windows XP PC they want to support.

Those willing to dole out that cash will continue to receive security patches for those issues rated "critical" -- Microsoft's highest security rating.

That means threats labeled "important" -- Microsoft's second-highest security rating -- will not be patched automatically. In fact, Custom Support users must request the patch and pay an additional fee to access it.

Microsoft has outlined the rules for Custom Support in a recent data sheet. "These security hotfixes will be issued through a secure process that makes the information available only to customers with Custom Support," the data sheet says. (Source:

Program to Last Until April 2017

Reports indicate that Microsoft will make Custom Support for Windows XP available for about three years after the OS is retired -- meaning those with the cash and a serious devotion to Windows XP should be able to receive critical updates until April 2017.

More than a few companies may take Microsoft up on this pricey offer. Experts have suggested that more than one-third of all personal computers will still be running Windows XP in the spring of 2014. (Source:

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