With less than a year left, Microsoft has announced they will suspend support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014.  Windows XP is still one of the most popular operating systems, accounting for approximately 20% of the traffic to Chassis Plans’ web site.  Microsoft has posted several blogs urging businesses to upgrade before time runs out.  

“You should take action to move off of Windows XP,” Microsoft said. “After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.”  

Windows XP is 12 years old.  There have been three major iterations of Windows in that time (Vista, Win 7 and Win 8) with Windows 7 being the most popular and XP running number two.  

In a study of 250 chief information officers, chief technology officers and IT managers at companies with more than 2,000 employees, more than half the respondents said they had yet to start addressing the problem, with only 42 percent saying they were already taking steps to upgrade their Windows software.  

Research firm Gartner has found that the pressure to upgrade is not just coming from Microsoft: this year, 60 percent of independent software vendors are expected to have a new product release that does not work with Windows XP.  

Not having support means that organizations’ systems could be vulnerable to malware. New security vulnerabilities are always being discovered. Any unsupported device can be vulnerable to attack.  

Many applications will no longer be supported while running on Windows XP. Organizations may be on their own to resolve issues and problems, which could result in system downtime.  In addition, licenses for additional XP deployment may not be available.  

The demise of Windows XP is of particular concern to the defense and embedded industrial markets in as much as application software has been specifically written for, tested and qualified with XP.  Changing to a new operating system requires expensive man hours to requalify the application.  In this time of budget cuts, the money for this effort may be particularly hard to find.  

Microsoft originally eased the burden when they first announced end of life for XP by allowing Windows 7 Pro users to downgrade to a version of XP.  This allowed businesses and defense to continue to support legacy software in the XP environment.   But it appears that Microsoft has drawn a line in the sand and it is presently doubtful that additional extensions will be granted.  

Chassis Plans continues to support all versions of Windows including Windows XP Pro (via Windows 7 downgrade) as well as Windows 7 and Windows 8.