Microsoft extends Security Essentials support to 2015, but is still ending XP updates this April

There has been a bit of confusion for Windows XP users (yes, they still exist) over whether or not they would be able to obtain antivirus support after July 2015. Let us take a few moments to talk about what antivirus support you won’t have after the 2015 date, but what might still be available. In addition, take a second to learn why you will still be at risk after this April even if you choose to continue using a third party service's security solution.

If you are still using Windows XP and the separation anxiety is just too much to deal with, you will be able to stay protected with antivirus support after July 2015. On the previously specified date, Microsoft will end support of their free Security Essentials software for the now decrepit operating system.

What does it exactly mean that they are ending support for the platform? Well, the company will stop providing new antivirus definitions for the software. What that means, is that the software simply will not be updated after that date. If you continued to use Microsoft Security Essentials with Windows XP, you will be protected against viruses in the database prior to July 2015, but your computer will be susceptible to malicious software created after that date.

In essence, this means that you will want to abandon Microsoft Security Essentials when the 2015 date comes around town. The misunderstanding is that some people currently think that all antivirus support will end for the operating system – that is simply not true. While Microsoft is backing out of Windows XP and encouraging growth with Windows 8, other third party companies will still provide security solutions. You will still be able to obtain security solutions from companies including Norton, AVG, Trend Micro, and Kaspersky. It will depend on the exact company, but some are promising to continue providing support as late as 2019.

That being said, Window XP is twelve years old and it is really time to move on. While Microsoft Security Solutions may provide support until 2015, security and bug fixes for the operating system will cease this April 8. Even if you continue to use a third party security suite until 2019, the updates and fixes for the operating system will stop and that still creates a terrible circumstance. If new exploits are found in the operating system after this April that hackers could take advantage of to compromise your data, Microsoft will not be issuing any sort of patch or protection - you will be on your own.

Windows XP is truly coming to an end and we strongly urge any of you still using the operating system to get your stuff and move to a more modern operating system. After this April, there will simply not be enough protection for users still on the platform. Don't wait till April 8 to move though, do it now and get settled in to the future. If you truly hate Windows 7 and Windows 8, then I would rather see you on a Mac or Linux platform - at least you will be safe.

Please, purchase an upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 soon – it is truly for your own good and security well being.

Michael Archambault
  • DIE XP DIE.... i do know xp was a great os for its time but its time for xp to retire :)
  • I am not a cheap ass, I just have a machine that runs XP, but likely will not run much else. Cant extend to a new PC just yet. Have considered a Windows 7 one, but a little short of cash right now.
  • Linux! Xubuntu is a lighter flavor of Ubuntu that I installed on an old XP laptop I had and it runs pretty well and is an easy enough OS to get used to.
  • If you are running an old 32 bit system you would be better off with Linux than Win 7, Lucid Puppy is stripped down enough to run pretty well on 2GB RAM, very well on 4GB. 
  • Great PSA. And to the benefit of all web developers: IE8 is dead, long live IE9+!
  • It makes sense for companies to still be using xp but the consumer needs to move on if u have a xp machine then the computer would be what 5-10 years old time to buy a new computer
  • My old computer was bought when XP came out just barely bought a new one this year
  • Which company would say it makes sense to run an OS that doesn't get security updates, exactly? After april it will only ever make sense to run XP in a virtual machine, or without a network connection.
  • Kroger, Wal-Mart, and any other grocery store.
  • Walmart began to roll out Windows 7 PCs with their custom UI for associate use early last year.
  • ASDA subsidiary of Walmart in UK is still using XP across the board. In offices and on tills as well
  • My friend i have lost count of the amount of companies still using xp all because they don't want to overhaul their it systems because they are cheap.
  • The place I'm currently working for are cheap SOBs and most of the computers are still running XP. A rare few have Windows 7.
  • Unfortunately this is all to common :(
  • XP has found the fountain of youth.
  • Lol
  • XP needs to go away. Seriously. Having old hardware is no excuse - Windows 8 actually runs faster than XP on XP-era hardware (probably due to all the optimizations to get it to run on tablets and phones).
  • That's just not true.. I have an old Toshiba a110 that just cannot run win8 properly. Switching desktop literally takes 5mins and it seems the processor runs at 80+% at all times.. Also gets a PC wizard global benchmark of 212 which is awful yet back on XP it benchmarks at 599 still very very bad but at least the CPU isn't nearly maxed all the time. Now to be clear I don't use the PC often I have 3 other up to date win8 laptops and a win7 gaming PC.
  • It's an expensive exercise for big corporations. I know of one place with specialised PCI (possibly ISA) cards that simply won't run in anything except XP as there aren't any newer drivers. I think the card was $5000-10,000. Multiply that by 100 PC's and you've got an expensive issue to deal with.
    But yeah, home users just have to worry about a printer or ancient scanner not working... But they're so cheap these days
  • I think this extension is more to get in line with the release of Windows 9. Microsoft has realized W8.x isn't convincing people and since it's almost impossible to buy Windows 7 today, they extend this until they release Windows 9 which should address all the problems keeping away people from W8. This long life of XP is something Microsoft should be proud, though. It means the OS was THAT good.
  • While it does mean the OS was /THAT/ good, that also means that the succeeding OS's weren't good enough to get people to move on.
  • That is also true. Though Windows 7 stands a good chance to take XP place. Which isn't bad as I still liked Windows 7 more than I like Windows 8.1 (mainly because I don't use the start screen at all but the start menus on desktop were useful), but it is bad for Microsoft if they don't manage to convince people with Windows 9. I think it has become clear that Windows 8.1 isn't convincing people to upgrade from XP nor 7. So they must make sure Windows 9 nails down all the improvements upon W8 (8.1 was a good start).
  • Windows 7 was a perfect OS for update from XP for companies but at the time it should have taken over XP in companies, MS came up with Win 8 and messed up everything. Win 7 was a great OS which could have been in the market easily for next couple of years.
  • MS would've been fine in the corporate market with Windows 7, but if they continued to hold off on Windows 8, they would've been done for in the consumer/mobile market. I'm well aware Windows 8(.1) has its kinks and quirks, and still has a long way to go. But it sure as hell is more relevant in to day's mobile world than any Windows OS to come before it. So yes, Windows 8 still has a lot of work to be done, but for Microsoft, it was essential to at least get their foot in the door, unless they want to go the way of IBM: successful, but forgotten.
  • I hope this forces my school to update their computers to Windows 8.
  • Lol yes.
  • My school used Windows 2000 until 2011
  • I was happy my work, slowly, updated our systems to Win8 using the same machines. Made everything faster!
  • I'm upgrading our school to 8.1 currently, nearly 700 machines - only another 250 or so to go... All but about 125 machines are touchscreens, Win 8.1 makes sense, so much faster!
  • My college updated all the computers to windows 8 4-5 months ago so its quite nice they also got office 2013 which is nice
  • XPired!
  • Haha! Love it!
  • XP, the OS that just won't die...
  • Way to push M$FT propaganda... XP will be fine - behind a firewall & with secured applications that access the Net. If the applications drop support for XP then you must stop using them. Even when all applications die for XP, if its not something interfacing with the Net & XP is behind a firewall of its own (in an unsecured network) it would still be safe to use. We have 3.11, 95, 98, & Win2K Pro running daily without issue. We just dont interact with the Net on them... That being said Win7 is the way to go right now, it might be the new XP.
  • if you're this conservative, why are you even on a tech site?
  • You're putting a lot of faith in your firewall and ignoring all other possible attack vectors. What about if someone slaps in an infected removable media to one of those old machines? Double-clicks a virus that slipped past your email a/v? Consider your network hosed, bra.
  • WTF.
    Try running Crysis 3 on 3.11, 95, 98 and Win2K (and ME) and let's see how you'll turn out
  • If math goes right, Windows 9 might be out by then, and with everything perfectly fixed and basically have the interface 97% how it used to be on Windows 7, but touch, then XP people would have like three months to upgrade and.. They won't upgrade. I'm not sure why. Its probably just their Kazaa server anyway. Brownies keep them sleepy, man..
  • Norton 360, my fav antivirus ;)
  • XP must retire now. 
  • Windows XP was a great OS, at least coming from Windows 98SE, it was completely new and beautiful. But yes, it's time to retire. Even though I got Windows 7 with my ultrabook, I bought Windows 8 Pro through Microsoft's Student offer. I love Windows 8.1 :-)
  • If your XP machine is connected to the internet there is no security software that can protect you. Consider yourself compromised.
  • Correct. I get tons of infected XP PCs, it's the worst platform to be on out there, if you want a minimum of security. I have yet to come across the average family or grandpa PC on XP that is not infected with viruses, trojans, malware, adware or PUPs, or the lot, ... your experience may vary. Mind you, XP is still under "support" as we speak. Can't imagine the slaughter when support really drops. These armies of zombie PCs will then be used to attack mine, and yours, too. It's in everybody's interest that people upgrade, not just Microsoft's wallet.
  • The most cheapest computer base XP, 50 $ you can have full set of desktop, use by millions companies which only use office, browser, printer ect
  • It's about time.  It's nice to know that MS cares enough to keep their products supported so long after release.  But, I'm really digging 8.1, so I can't say I'm even slightly bummed out by this.
  • I think there must be over 200 million computers still running XP. See this article from last September 2012: "Windows 7 overtakes XP as Mac OSX passes Vista"! It says XP was 42.5%.
    I think I read somewhere that there are over 1 billion computers in the world. I couldn't find 2014 numbers, but suffice it to say, XP has big numbers.
  • What's the big deal??? My company still has PCs running on Win98SE .... LOL
  • What about the elderly? It's alright for us to pick up new operating systems, but for my elderly customers it's a steep learning curve to learn something new...
  • I mean is there really that much of a difference in the desktop from Windows 7 to 8? If anything I would encourage the non tech savvy people to migrate to Windows 8.1 it is much more secure, built in anti virus anti spyware, they finally got a default optimizer scheduled to defrag and update everything in the background when the PC is idle. IE 11 is THAT much better, seriously compared to IE 8 lol c'mon maaan. But foreal, for your elderly customers, just set up Windows 8.1 exactly like Windows 7. Straight to desktop on startup, when they hit the start button apply the show all applications list option, and just tell them XP got a new modern interface lmao. So many people appreciate the performance upgrade, especially start up times! those elders will be booted up and in their solitaire game before they can fix their dentures.
  • April 8 will be one tough day for those Windows XP users who didn't switch over...I feel like it'll be the hacker day exploting everybody who still has XP, but we'll see!
  • lol some banks in my country use Win XP!
  • Goodbye best operating system of its time to have ever existed!
  • there are  some some applications which can oly run on XP. these are tailer made systems for companies. i Wish MS should have continued to include XP mode on these new OS,
  • At the company I work for we have just in the headquarters around 900 users with PCs running XP. It's a nonsense. I don't know if IT department will finnaly realise that they need to move forward but the alergy to Windows 8 among the IT community doesn't help at all.
  • I still have clients using Win98SE till now! Damn!
  • So many places and businesses (like restaurants and hospitals), still use XP, and I just think, "At least get Windows 7, please!"
  • R.I.P XP :D
  • XP has been with me pretty much my whole life, at least more than half of it, and it is time to move on, please.
  • It's scary how many places use XP - banks, hospitals, etc. and they can't upgade affordably or easily because the software (and sometimes hardware) they use relies on it. For example, the hospital where I worked until last year is on XP and installs it on new computers because their (quite new and modern) software runs through IE7 - and cannot be used any other way. This software is used for everything from patient registration to doctors' orders. It took two years to roll out and another year to fully train and switch over 3,000+ employees. They can't afford to do that again anytime soon. Most other companies on XP are in the same boat. The problem is mainly with the engineering companies (in this case Siemens) that still make this kind of stuff, possibly putting those businesses in danger.
  • Windows Weekly podcast, this week, said there are currently over 400 Million active computers running XP. MS is not shutting down the activation servers, so we will still be able to install XP on computers. Updates, to date, will be available. Virus definitions will continue to be available. No more update patches to the OS for the general population. Enterprise customers will be able to pay for support.
  • Looks like this article appears to be incorrect. I just logged into a xp machine that had a warning from microsoft that MSE was no longer supported. 
  • In the article,  it said that Microsoft wouldn't update it, but would allow people to install and use it to scan and get rid of viruses until 2017. Hope that clears confusion.