--- Not dead yet: Dutch, British governments pay to keep Windows XP alive
Windows XP is supposed to be dead next week. But the Dutch and British governments have both inked deals with Microsoft to continue to keep it on life support, at least for them—under Microsoft’s Custom Support program.
On Wednesday, ComputerWeekly reported that the UK government agreed to pay Microsoft £5.548 million (approximately $9.1 million) for continued support of Windows XP, Office 2003, and Exchange 2003 for all British public sector customers. On Friday, the Dutch government cut its own “multi-million Euro” deal with Microsoft for custom XP support of over 30,000 computers still running the Windows XP operating system.
Those deals may be just a drop in the bucket in comparison to what the US government may have to pay for support of the hundreds of thousands of systems still running Windows XP and other end-of-life software. Despite years of foreknowledge of the end of support for the operating system, there are still a large number of systems running Windows XP within government, including computers on sensitive networks and embedded systems. Many hospitals in the US still use Windows XP on workstations and healthcare devices because software developers have not had their products certified by regulators for use with later versions of Windows.
Microsoft been making dumb moves for a long while.
--- The IRS will pay Microsoft millions for Windows XP support
Usually, the Internal Revenue Service is the one getting paid this time of year, but Uncle Sam will be lining someone else's pockets this tax season because of its attachment to Windows XP. In case you hadn't heard, support for XP officially stopped on April 8th, meaning that Microsoft will no longer provide support or security updates for the venerable OS. However, governmental computers can't be left vulnerable, so the IRS will be paying Microsoft millions of dollars for custom support to keep their machines secure and functional. Right now, over half the agency's PCs still run XP, despite Microsoft telling the whole world that it would stop support for the OS in 2014 six years ago. The plan is to have all IRS machines running Windows 7 by the end of the year -- at which point the clock starts ticking on the transition to Windows 8. No rush, though, Microsoft has pledged to support Windows 7 through 2020. Let the governmental procrastination begin!
Is the heartbleed virus related to the end of windows xp support?
- Rep Power
---Windows XP users sticking to the OS despite support cutoff
The majority of AVAST customers running Windows XP said they will rely on AVAST to protect them.
Last month Ondrej Vlcek, Chief Operating Officer of AVAST, shared his opinion on the end of Windows XP support by Microsoft, revealing that 23.6% of AVAST’s over 200 million users were still using Windows XP. Since then less than 2% of AVAST Windows XP users have parted ways with the operating system. We conducted a global survey just days before the support end date to find out how aware our Windows XP users were of the support cutoff and what they were planning on doing.
How aware were Windows XP users that their support was expiring?
Months ago Microsoft announced that it would no longer support Windows XP, sending daily warning messages to XP users a month before the end date, April 8, 2014. The media, especially technology-focused media, has been buzzing about the end of support. Our survey found that 21% of Windows XP users were unaware that Microsoft would be ending support, despite Microsoft’s efforts and the media attention around the topic.
What actions were Windows XP users planning on taking?
Although Microsoft recommends upgrading the operating system as the first option home XP users should take to protect themselves, AVAST found that only 15% of XP users were planning on upgrading their OS. The second option Microsoft suggests is for XP users to purchase a new PC, as many of the newer operating systems aren’t compatible with older devices. This does not seem like a popular option for many XP users, which is understandable considering the costs that come with purchasing a new PC. Only 5% of Windows XP users plan on purchasing a new PC. The majority of AVAST customers running Windows XP said they will rely on AVAST to protect them.
The survey also revealed that 27% of Windows XP users were not planning on doing anything. As AVAST users they are protecting themselves since we will continue to support Windows XP users for at least the next three years. This number is relatively high considering the security risks involved with the OS and makes one wonder how many XP users are not concerned about their protection and aren’t planning on upgrading their OS, buying a new PC or seeking AV that will support them.
AVAST has been creating protection modules and detections specifically designed to cover Windows XP vulnerabilities and other security problems. We recommend non-AVAST Windows XP users download AVAST for the added protection. avast! 2014 is a light product, both in terms of speed and resource consumption, tailored for older PCs running XP.
In addition to this, we recommend users stop using Internet Explorer, as the browser poses an even larger threat when used on Windows XP. The latest version of Internet Explorer for Windows XP is 8, which is outdated and lacks many security improvements available in later versions of the browser. We recommend XP users switch to a safer browser that updates itself.
---- Microsoft states that users of Windows 7 And Windows Vista are more at risk to viruses than Windows XP
In a perfect example of terrible timing, Microsoft has published its biannual Security Intelligence Report (SIR) which shows Windows 7 and Windows Vista are infected by malware and viruses more regularly than the outgoing Windows XP . The data is likely to make Microsoft’s attempts to drag XP users to a newer operating system even more difficult.
My big ass company just changed to 7 thank fuck, xp was slow as fuck with all the systems we need to run to operate on a daily basis.
--- China Bans Use of Microsoft's Windows 8 on Government Computers
China has banned government use of Windows 8, Microsoft Corp’s latest operating system, a blow to a U.S. technology company that has long struggled with sales in the country.
The Central Government Procurement Center issued the ban on installing Windows 8 on Chinese government computers as part of a notice on the use of energy-saving products, posted on its website last week.
The official Xinhua news agency said the ban was to ensure computer security after Microsoft ended support for its Windows XP operating system, which was widely used in China.
"We were surprised to learn about the reference to Windows 8 in this notice," the company said in a statement. "Microsoft has been working proactively with the Central Government Procurement Center and other government agencies through the evaluation process to ensure that our products and services meet all government procurement requirements."
"We have been and will continue to provide Windows 7 to government customers. At the same time we are working on the Window 8 evaluation with relevant government agencies," Microsoft said.
Neither the government nor Xinhua elaborated on how the ban supported the use of energy-saving products or how it ensured security.
China has long been a troublesome market for Microsoft. Former CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly told employees in 2011 that, because of piracy, Microsoft earned less revenue in China than in the Netherlands even though computer sales matched those of the United States.
Last month, Microsoft ended support for the 13-year-old Windows XP to encourage the adoption of newer, more secure versions of Windows. This has potentially left XP users vulnerable to viruses and hacking.
"China’s decision to ban Windows 8 from public procurement hampers Microsoft’s push of the OS to replace XP, which makes up 50 percent of China’s desktop market," said data firm Canalys.
Surely there's a community somewhere that will continue to develop updates for XP?
When I'm writing in my room
It's like a child that's fighting in the womb
- KP -
When I'm writing in my room
It's like a child that's fighting in the womb
- KP -
---- Unofficial' Windows XP SP4 Launched. Microsoft OS Lives On
In May I commented that Windows XP is more difficult to kill than Wolverine and four months on it does indeed appear that the operating system was coded using Adamantium. How? Well despite having been discarded by Microsoft MSFT +1.41% in April, the 12 year old OS just received Service Pack 4.
Needless to say this isn’t Microsoft demonstrating yet another generous act of utter stupidity, but the work of its diehard fanbase. Dubbed the ‘Unofficial Service Pack 4’, credit goes to Greece-based developer harkaz who started the project back in September 2013. The third beta has already been launched and, in true Microsoft fashion, a Release Candidate (RC) will be ready soon.
“Many users – including me – who won’t be able to upgrade their old machines to a newer OS would like to easily install all Windows updates in one convenient package. For this reason, I started working on a Service Pack 4 package,” said harkaz on the RyanVM discussion boards.
“Windows XP Unofficial SP4 ENU is a cumulative update rollup for Windows XP (x86) English,” he explained. “It can be applied to a live Windows XP system which has SP1, at minimum, installed or it can be slipstreamed (integrated) in any Windows XP installation media.”
harkaz breaks down Unofficial SP4 stating that it includes ‘ updates for most Windows XP components’, including:
MCE and Tablet PC
Microsoft .NET Frameworks 4.0, 3.5, 1.1 and 1.0 (Tablet PC only)
Integrated POSReady security updates
A detailed list of fixes can be found here(http://www.ryanvm.net/forum/viewtopi...=137319#137319 ), but of particular interest is POSReady. The POSReady security hack was announced in May and it takes advantage of a Microsoft loophole that provides security support for ‘Windows Embedded POSReady’ (now called ‘Windows Embedded Industry’) which will last until 2019. Emdedded Industry is a b2b-focused variant of Windows XP running Service Pack 3.
How it works is the POSReady hack tricks Microsoft servers into thinking consumer versions of Windows XP are in fact Embedded Industry and therefore supplying them with security updates. Rightfully critics have noted that the two OSes are not identical which could cause problems, but it has proved a fruitful route so far. The hack was fairly simple, but automating it within a wider update will appeal to many.
Read more: Simple Hack Gives Windows XP Users 5 More Years Of Support
Needless to say caveats apply if you are going to consider installing Unofficial SP4, many of which are stated by harkaz. The main one of which is to obtain the downloads from the developer’s posts on RyanVM as there are numerous malware and virus infected fake SP4 patches floating around.
I would also add that in installing any Windows patch not verified by Microsoft is a risk, though in this case the lack of future security patches for Windows XP means running the OS is already a big risk in itself. Furthermore – with a reported 25% of all PCs still running Windows XP – this is a risk which is only going to get worse.
All of this is a potential PR disaster for Microsoft. I personally believe the company has every right to end support for an operating system after providing it for free for 12 years and providing years of warning, but reports of Windows XP mass hacks and customers suffering poses a real problem. Furthermore with Windows 8 failing to take off and Windows 7 Mainstream Support ending in January Microsoft is fast becoming cornered.
The only card the company has to play is Windows 9. It will have to be incredibly lean to have any chance of running on Windows XP computers, but more than that it will need to be a compelling, crowd pleasing and affordable operating system in its own right.