It’s time to get rid of Windows XP, as Patch Tuesday looms

As I write this today, Windows XP is patched against known Microsoft security vulnerabilities.

But as of next Tuesday (13 May 2014) that will no longer be the case.

Because next Tuesday, Microsoft will be releasing its regular bundle of security patches and – in all probability – there will be Windows vulnerabilities fixed on that day which will remain unpatched on the unloved Windows XP platform.

And it would be no surprise at all if malicious hackers reverse-engineered Microsoft’s fixes and explored how to exploit on Windows XP security flaws that are fixed on the likes of Windows 7.

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You can’t really blame Microsoft that much. It *did* give Windows XP users fair warning (seven years warning in fact) that it would be no longer supporting or providing XP security patches after April 8 2014.

Yes, Microsoft did backtrack a little of course, which might have added to some people’s confusion. When it issued an emergency patch for Internet Explorer – and even rolled out a fix for XP – earlier this month it did send a rather mixed message.

So, allow me to direct the next bit at Microsoft:

Hey Microsoft, are you going to keep your word and dump XP or not?

By providing that emergency Internet Explorer patch for XP *after* you had told the world you wouldn’t release a security fix ever again for the platform, you undermined every IT staff member who was trying to get their company to wake up to the impending problem and upgrade their systems.

It’s time for the world to get rid of Windows XP. And it’s time for Microsoft to make an honest clean break and not release any more fixes for XP.

I’m not saying it’s going to be pretty, and there will – undoubtedly – be organisations and home users who struggle to handle the switch to a more modern, patched version of Windows.

But it is time for you to stay true to your word, and send a clear message to everyone using Windows XP that they really must upgrade their operating system – whether it be to a more recent version of Windows, or something different.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

8 comments on “It’s time to get rid of Windows XP, as Patch Tuesday looms”

  1. RealityBites

    Microsoft will go down in history as the company that couldn't….. Couldn't write a decent OS, couldn't write a secure OS, couldn't take care of customers instead of raping them.

    Microsoft…. just couldn't.

  2. Would be a PR nightmare but I wish Microsoft could issue an update that renders XP inoperable. I'm still getting people ask me how to disable the warning that XP is no longer supported, my reply each time is to replace the machine!

  3. SteveB

    Perhaps XP users would be more likely to move to a more recent version of Windows if it wasn't so bloody expensive.

    1. Bill Blinn · in reply to SteveB

      So Apple's OS is "free", but the hardware is marked up to more than cover it. And OSX still crashes. A computer is a computer and the silly PC vs Mac vs Linux argument is just that: Silly.

  4. Justin Credible

    This guy Clueless must be a shill for MSFT.

  5. Roger Garvin

    I Have Three Desk Top Pc's All Of Which Can Not Be Upgraded Because They Were Made For Windows Xp And Are Not Compatible With Vista 7 Or 8 And I Can Not Afford To Upgrade Especially With Me Being On Disability So If They Get Rid Of XP People Like Me Can Not Up Grade I Think It Is Not Fair For Microsoft To Get Rid Of XP Or The Updates If My Pc Was Compadible I Would Upgrade But I Can't Get Drivers For Mine To Run Any Other System But XP

  6. Steve

    How long will MS wait before offering a reasonable upgrade price for people to switch to Windows 8.x ? It would be a win/win for them, less -ve publicity about Win XP and more Win8 users. My customers can’t afford 120€+ for me to upgrade their PCs

  7. Buck Rogers

    Big deal I still use Windows XP, Vista, and 7. I also know a lot of other people who still run Windows XP. I'm planning on upgradng to Windows 8.1 Pro soon.

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