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Windows XP & Office 2003 - time to retire

28/10/13

Windows XP & Office 2003 - time to retire

Permalink 10:44:00 am by Eugene Gardner, Categories: Security, General, Articles

If your PC is running on Windows XP this would be a good time to consider its future. This is driven by Microsoft announcing that all support for XP and Office 2003 will cease on 8th April 2014. That means they will not be publishing patches to security vulnerabilities.

What?s the big deal I hear you say. Well any fraudster discovering a way in to your computer will not be releasing their virus now, they will be waiting for April as Microsoft have told the world that no more fixes will be released ? so they will have a free hand to steal identities, extort money and take control of compromised computers.

Not only that, when a security flaw for Windows Vista or 7 is found Microsoft will be releasing a patch to fix it. That patch, it is said, will be reverse engineered by the bad people so that they can then target XP computers with the same attack.

You may be thinking that you can rely on your Internet security program, but history shows that all the main suppliers will no longer support XP as there will be so few users that there will be no money in it for them. Your only hope will be the free anti-virus products, and none of them are anything like as secure as the paid for Internet security suites, which themselves are necessarily less than 100% effective.

The only way to retain safe use of an XP computer would be to permanently disconnect it from the Internet. Don?t even leave it connected to your local area network as viruses can easily spread within a network. If you choose this course, reformat the disk and reinstall XP now as it is likely that patches and activation servers will not be available for too much longer.

Another consideration must be that at about 10 - 12 years old your hardware has already been running longer than expected. The time for it to fail must surely be imminent.

Upgrading to Windows 7 may be a possibility for some (upgrading to Windows 8 is not recommended), but given the risk of imminent hardware failure, and the much improved experience with Windows 8, and the need for a clean install rather than an in place upgrade, I suspect most people?s best option will be to buy new. If you do chose to upgrade make sure that device drivers are available for the new version of Windows. Old XP applications can usually run in Windows 7 Professional?s XP Compatibility Mode, or you may choose to run XP in a virtual PC.

Reference: Microsoft Security Blog

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