An article on the BBC website yesterday about the level of support for Windows XP risked causing quite a bit of confusion, so I just wanted to outline some of the facts and let you what we’re advising from a TSG perspective.

If you read it, you would be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that XP machines would be supported for another year (the original end of life date being 8th April 2014).  This isn’t actually the case and the BBC has since updated the article, but it still doesn’t quite explain what’s happening.

The cause for the reaction was Microsoft yesterday announcing that they will continue to provide anti-malware signatures until 2015; something they haven’t ever said before.

However, this still means that the end of support date remains.  So, as planned, Microsoft will cease supporting XP from 8th April 2014.  They will not provide any security or non-security hot fixes for the XP operating system after this date. 

We have been and we’re continuing to urge customers across the country to replace the Windows XP operating system on any machines within their network, and we’re keen to highlight the risks and vulnerabilities that businesses face if they don’t take action.

The impact could reach far beyond simply any PCs that are running Windows XP and in the most extreme cases, could potentially bring businesses to a standstill.

Thankfully we have a very close relationship with Microsoft and I understand that they will be addressing any misleading reports with further articles before the end of the week.

In a blog post, Microsoft advise that running a well-protected solution all starts with using modern software and hardware, designed to help protect against today’s threat landscape.

Aside from the security concern, there is also a risk that businesses will face compatibility issues if they fail to upgrade.

So even though many have relied on Windows XP for many years, sadly, that’s no longer an option.

It’s clear that many still need to take action, in fact, according to figures published by Netmarketshare, about 30% of all desktop computers are still running XP (although this figure has fallen from 40% over the last year).

For more information, we have built a specific page of information about XP on our website, but do let us know if you have any questions about XP end of life or would like any further information on the security risks of not upgrading it.