After more than a decade on the market, Windows XP is finally getting retired by Microsoft. That means the company will no longer issue Service Packs, security patches or bug fixes for the operating system. What’s more, many third party software developers will discontinue support for their applications on Windows XP after Microsoft’s deadline.
What’s at stake:
Smooth operation of desktop computers, throughout an enterprise.
This could all cause big headaches for enterprises still running the OS.
Here are some key points about Microsoft’s transition plan:
- Windows XP Extended Support ends April 8, 2014. Microsoft offers three levels of support during the life of a product. Mainstream Support runs for the first five years, during which the software maker is responsible for fixing any problems. Extended Support typically lasts another five years, during which support is limited to security patches. The only option after Extended Support is pricey Custom Support. Microsoft ended Extended Support for 32-bit Windows XP with Service Pack 2 in 2010. It is providing Extended Support for 64-bit
Windows XP with Service Pack 2, and 32- and 64-bit Windows XP with Service Pack 3, until April 2014.
- App support may also end. It’s not just Windows XP that’s losing support. Many independent software developers have said that their new products will not be supported on systems running XP. And Microsoft itself has said that its Office 2013 suite, which includes new versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and other apps, is not XP-compatible. Additionally, many hardware makers are discontinuing production of Windows XP drivers for their devices.
- Office 2003: Along with Windows XP, Microsoft will also end support for Office 2003 on April 8. Organizations still running Office 2003 will most likely want to upgrade to Office 2010 or Office 2013, which offers desktop and cloud-based productivity apps. Office 2013 also is touch-friendly and geared for use with Windows 8 tablets.
No matter how comfortable organizations are with their Windows XP systems, attempting to stay on the platform isn’t worth the downsides, according to analysts. “Understand the risks that lack of support for these products will bring to your organization,” said Gartner, in a recent report.