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Windows XP Goes Dark: 5 Things To Expect

Microsoft customers face Windows XP's end-of-service deadline. How much will you suffer from the lack of support?

running beyond April. But whether through third-party security patches, data-transfer services, or something else, XP's retirement represents a huge financial opportunity.

Even though Windows 8 uptake isn't as strong as Microsoft would like, the company isn't left out of the game. Some companies that continue to rely on XP have signed on for extended service, usually at an annual cost of millions of dollars.

4. Many holdouts will move on before long.
Some XP users give the impression they won't upgrade until their computers literally melt. That said, many will eventually find they have no choice, due not only to increasing malware risks, but also the number of software vendors who will no longer update XP applications.

"It's almost the same risk as if you're driving an older car," said Silver. "You're more likely to have problems with it, problems finding parts, or mechanics who know how to deal with it. It's the same issue with XP."

Indeed, though major security vendors have pledged to support the OS for several more years, many XP applications won't receive further attention. XP users might also find it increasingly difficult to justify their claims also that aging systems are "good enough."

"XP is the source of some slowness, which doesn't do Microsoft any good," Silver said. "There are folks who think XP is what Windows is like today, taking 10 minutes to boot and such."

5. Microsoft will face unhappy customers.
As the extraordinary number of XP holdouts might indicate, a lot of XP users are in no rush to update. Many resent what they perceive as Microsoft's strong-arm tactics to push customers toward newer products.

Despite the discontent, Silver defended Microsoft. "[It] has one of the broadest and most transparent support policies out there. You're not gonna get that from other vendors," he said.

But Johnson said some users are justifiably peeved. "Some companies have begun migrations on time, but they ran into things they didn't have a feasible way around," he said, citing application compatibility as a major challenge.

Fair or not to Microsoft, the number of annoyed users could grow after the April 8 deadline passes, especially if remaining XP systems suffer greater-than-anticipated problems.

Incidents of mobile malware are way up, researchers say, and 78% of respondents worry about lost or stolen devices. But although many teams are taking mobile security more seriously, 42% still skip scanning completely, and just 39% have MDM systems in place. Find out more in the State Of Mobile Security report (free registration required).