TECH

Windows XP Is Dead: Microsoft Drops Support For Ageing OS

08/04/2014 10:25 BST | Updated 08/04/2014 10:59 BST

All good things must end, goes the adage. As it turns out, all bugger, mediocre things must end too.

Microsoft has finally dropped support for its ageing Windows XP operating system.

As of Tuesday there will be no more security patches, updates, bug fixes or upgrades for the venerable software.

You will still be able to use XP, if you choose to, but you will do so at your own risk. Any critical flaws or problems will not be fixed, as Microsoft focuses attention on its later operating systems including Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

The problem is that a large chunk of people still use XP. Some estimates say up to 25% of all computer users are running the OS, despite being more than 13 years old.

Among those who have signed expensive agreements for ongoing support for the OS include the UK government, who have paid £5.5 million so that its many PCs still running XP can continue to operate without tricky and costly upgrades.

But despite the issues, researchers broadly agree that ending support is the right thing to do.

Catalin Cosoi, Chief Security Strategist at Bitdefender, said that XP's security model is "ancient" and needs to be replaced.

"The main security issue with XP is that its security model is ancient in terms of the internet, meaning hackers have had a lot of time to dig in and find flaws. This is why we believe Microsoft is correct in ending support for XP; it is old and buggy and belongs on the trash heap. Whether this means that people will stop running it, however, remains to be seen."

Paul Kenyon, co-founder and EVP global sales at Avecto, said that support contracts such as that signed by the UK government are "nothing more than a sticking plaster".

“Those businesses that haven’t started to migrate to a newer operating system need to make plans immediately – it can’t be a case of ‘if’, but ‘when’. In the meantime, they should ensure they minimise risk by removing admin rights from all users to limit the damage of any potential security breach.”