Microsoft's Windows XP has officially reached the end of the line on Tuesday, April 8, and will no longer receive any security updates.
This should come as a shock to no one, as Microsoft has repeatedly warned that this day was coming and the 12-year-old OS will be put to rest.
"Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But now the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences," Microsoft explains in an announcement.
"As a result, after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date. (If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive antimalware signature updates for a limited time, but this does not mean that your PC will be secure because Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates to help protect your PC.)
In other words, users who choose to continue using Windows XP after support has ended must be aware that although their computers will still work, they may become vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Moreover, an increasingly larger number of applications will not be compatible with Windows XP, as more software and hardware manufacturers will focus their efforts on optimizing apps for newer versions of Windows.
Windows XP made its debut on Oct. 25, 2001, and has proved to be one of the most successful Microsoft products of all time. Its successor, Windows Vista, was widely deemed as a big failure, and was quickly replaced with Windows 7. The XP version of the OS continued to be the most popular one for a long time, as only in September 2012 did Windows 7 manage to dethrone Windows XP as the most popular desktop operating system.
Microsoft released the third and last Service Pack for Windows XP back in May 2008 and ended XP Mainstream Support in April 2009. That move meant that the company was no longer providing free technical support or accepting warranty claims, but Microsoft did offer extended support up until now. That extended support meant that users could pay for technical support and security updates, as they were no longer receiving them for free.
The company advises Windows XP users to upgrade to the latest version of Windows 8.1, and even offers instructions for transferring data from the old OS to the new one. Along with the Windows XP end of support, Microsoft will also stop providing security updates for Office 2003 from now on.
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