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Windows XP Plug Pulled: 5 Questions
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WarlordGM
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WarlordGM,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/8/2014 | 11:32:29 AM
fair and balanced reply.
1. Windows XP is already more malware prone than newer systems?  Citation needed. In 2013 windows 8 had more vulnerabilites than XP.


2. Windows XP was built for a different era of computing, a point Microsoft sometimes makes when explaining the OS's security risks.?  Windows XP has far less services and software as newer versions of windows do.  Less services running means tighter security.  In fact a user can disable almost all of XP serves except about 5-6 and still have a functional operating system.

3.  Thats right PC sales are down simple becasue or Moores law.  Core2 Archtecture was too good and it meets the needs or exceeds the average person.  XP run great on that hardware.

4.This is flat out false.  ATM are running POS Ready 2009 which is set to recive updates atleast until 2019.  POS Ready 2009 and XP embeded based on XPSP3.

5.  True people still run DOS for some things.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
4/8/2014 | 12:01:12 PM
Re: fair and balanced reply.
It will be interesting to see how the ATM situation plays out. I suspect many readers are already more cautious of where they use their debit cards, following the Target breach. Are you? Weigh in.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
4/8/2014 | 12:04:55 PM
Re: fair and balanced reply.
Thanks for the comments. Here are a few additions and clarifications:

1.The hyperlinked portion in the sentence you've singled out included a link to the citation, but here it is again: http://www.informationweek.com/windows-xp-malware-6x-as-bad-as-windows-8/d/d-id/1112122. The source is a Microsoft researcher, which, given the obvious potential for ulterior motives, you can choose to interpret how you wish. The linked article includes a healthy debate about whether Microsoft's claim is a scare tactic or a legitimate warning.

2. I don't think we totally disagreed here. The article states that XP machines can be made more secure if the user implements certain safeguards, disables certain applications, and adopts certain behaviors. But with 100 million+ XP users still out there, we can't quixotically expect everyone will be proactive. Fewer services only means tighter security if those few services are used in a solid way, and XP's retirement makes it easier for some users to run into trouble.

4. There are a lot of ATMs out there. I talked to Michael Silver at Gartner about this one, and he agreed that a lot of ATMs are probably running the now-unsupported OS. Dean Stewart, Senior Director at ATM manufacturer Diehold, has also discussed (citation) that many ATMs run the standard XP Pro edition with embedded restrictions, which is different than Window XP Embedded itself (though that is, as noted, used on ATMs too). Granted, he's selling new ATMs, so I guess you could take his word with a grain of salt, but other sources corroborate. We have an inquiry in to Microsoft about this, but haven't received a comment. If they can share any specific breakdowns, we'll update the article.
Matt Healy
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Matt Healy,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/8/2014 | 12:26:13 PM
Lab machines
My company has some XP boxes running lab equipment that cannot be upgraded because they need custom hardware drivers.  These will be locked down so they cannot access the Internet, and USB drives cannot be used, the only way to move data off them will be to servers on our internal network.

 
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
4/8/2014 | 12:31:38 PM
Re: Lab machines
Thanks for sharing your experience. It's easy to play up the number of active XP systems, and for consumers, I think the hoopla about risks has some merit. But a lot of professionals need to keep using XP and know how to keep it secure, with or without Microsoft, as your story demonstrates. The upgrade urgency isn't the same for everyone, and unfortunately, neither is the upgrade simplicity.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
4/8/2014 | 1:00:47 PM
Re: fair and balanced reply -- Official word on the Windows XP ATM issue
Microsoft Director of Communications Tom Murphy confirmed to me that some ATMs are running Windows XP Pro Embedded, which loses support today, whereas others are using Windows Embedded SP3, which is supported until 2016. He said Microsoft has been working with banks since 2007, and that all of them have taken appropriate measures, from updating machines to paying Microsoft for extended XP support while they finish migrations. He said, "With banks, trust and security is front and center. ATMs are something they put a lot of thought and investment into." He added he's still going to use ATMs.

I asked about the "old ATM in the corner of a liquor store" scenario, and he said that it's hard to speak specifically, but that those ATMs are operated by companies whose business is to ensure that customers are kept safe. He also said that the vast majority of Microsoft's large customers have moved off of XP, though he said some complex migrations are still ongoing.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
4/8/2014 | 7:31:03 PM
XP users will eventually migrate, but to what?
If software companies can't set a date for when their product will no longer be supported, they end up carrying forward an ever growing deadweight of baggage. Microsoft has been better than most about signaling its intentions. On the other hand, I'm not sure if I were Microsoft that I would spur so many customers to migrate. If they wanted to migrate to Windows 7 or Windows 8, they would have done so by now. If their existence becomes tenuous on XP, then they will migrate. I'm just not sure where.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
4/8/2014 | 10:01:32 PM
Re: XP users will eventually migrate, but to what?
Frankly speaking, MS did more than enough to support Windows XP in these years. The OS architecture was designed one decade ago and it's becoming more and more difficult to adopt new technologies. It's indeed time to upgrade. Many users stay with XP since it's rather stable. Furthermore, they may not have strong demand that needs to facilitate the power of new Windows OS. But now the time finally comes - without continuous support/patch, you are prone to higher and higher risk without upgrade.
BruceB093
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BruceB093,
User Rank: Strategist
4/9/2014 | 9:30:16 AM
Reminds me of Y2K
1. With the 4/8/14 update, this is arguably the "best" XP in its lifetime -- better than it was say 5 years ago as to safety and stability, yet the world didn't end then because XP was in use.

2. The hype is that "something new might happen!" after 4/8/14.  This appears to just be marketing FUD.  I ask customers how often their anti-virus has reported stopping an attack or how often they've had to have someone come in and clean out a virus.  If they say rarely to never - which is the vast majority, then their risk of a world ending event after 4/8/14 is low.  If they do get malware the impact is no different than if they got it before 4/8/14. Clean it up and move on.  

3. 've worked on PCs that hadn't had an update in months to years but were used daily and while I find lots of software bloat I only get a few virii.  This is true on both XP and Win7.  How agressively the individual interacts with the internet appears more relevant to picking up issues than does the choice of virus checker (if any) or the condition or version of their OS.  Retired church ladies often get lots of software bloat but few viruses.  The youthful (30s and below) seem to get the most malware, at least in my experience, and they more often have the newest OS (i.e, win7).

MS stopping updates to XP makes news and the induced fear generates a lot of business, but there is so far no reason to belive that today is any risker than yesterday was -- nor will next year logically be any more riskier than last year was. 

It feels like Y2K all over again. Maybe we should call it YXP?

 

 
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
4/11/2014 | 6:27:45 PM
Re: XP users will eventually migrate, but to what?
I can understand why some people have taken the "How can Microsoft abandon 200 million+ customers?!" perspective. But Microsoft obviously can't support XP indefinitely. It takes resources to do so-- and those resources aren't necessarily adding much to Microsoft's bottom line at this point. In fact, they might be detracting from Microsoft's bottom line, since we're talking about resources that might have gone to, say, Azure or something promising, instead of being lavished on ongoing XP maintenance.

I'm a big proponent of companies considering customers over profits, but at some point, Microsoft has to move on to new technologies. If not after 12 years, how long would be appropriate? If Microsoft had decided that 200 million active users was too many, would 100 million have been acceptable? What about 10 million? I think Microsoft could probably have done some things differently to help with XP's EOL deadline, but I have trouble arguing that Microsoft should have kept XP on life support for another five years.
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