365 Days Remaining Until XP End Of Support. The Countdown Begins

365 Days Remaining Until XP End Of Support. The Countdown Begins

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Today marks the start of the 1-year countdown of when we stop supporting Windows XP. Many of you saw the post this morning on the Windows For Your Businessblog. Over the past few months I have gotten a lot of questions on what that means exactly. Here are some answers to help explain what end of support is and what you need to do to move to a modern OS like Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Microsoft will end Extended Support on April 8, 2014. Why?

In 2002, Microsoft introduced its Support Lifecycle policy based on customer feedback to have more transparency and predictability of support for Microsoft products. Per this policy, Microsoft Business and Developer products – including Windows and Office products – receive a minimum of 10 years of support (five years Mainstream Support and five years Extended Support), at the supported service pack level. Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will go out of support on April 8, 2014. If your organization has not started the migration to a modern desktop, you are late. Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment. To ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office, you should begin your planning and application testing immediately to ensure you deploy before end of support.

What is the difference between extended and mainstream support?

Think of mainstream support as “full”. In other words, mainstream support means Microsoft supports a product with its full offerings including paid incident support, hotfix support, security updates, etc. This support for Windows XP ended in April of 2009.

When a product enters the extended support “phase”, the game changes:

  • Extended support is only available for commercial customers
  • We still provide security updates at no charge to all customers

On April 8, 2014, we will end the extended support for our commercial customers and we will no longer provide security updates for commercial or consumer customers.

What does End of Support mean to customers?

Simply, it means you should take action to move off of Windows XP. 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. Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:

  • Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.
  • Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Hardware Manufacturers support: Back in 2011, many independent software vendors (ISVs) were already unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP.

So no new patches after April 8th, 2014?

Microsoft will keep hosting all patches and service packs released through April of 2014, but no new updates will be released after this date.

I heard that my anti-virus software company will continue to support Windows XP after April 8, 2014. Does that mean I am protected?

No. Securing an operating system requires a multiple layers of defense and an anti-malware is just one part of the end-to-end security stack. When EOS for Windows XP occurs on April 8, 2014 and Windows is no longer being serviced, the system and any anti-malware solutions deployed to it will no longer be able to protect the device, user and data against new and emerging threats. Vulnerabilities that are discovered in Windows XP or possibly even applications running on it will remain unpatched and many types of malware will be able to take permanent residence within devices. This can occur even if the device is running an up to date anti-malware solution. Based on this, it’s critical that organizations and consumers migrate to a modern operating system.

What is a “modern operating system”?

A modern OS refers to Windows 7 and Windows 8 as well as a modern browser like IE 8, 9 and 10. These are hardened, secure operating systems built to support users’ needs around security, mobility and overall flexibility. Windows 7 and Windows 8 offer users a great experience while reducing costs and increasing IT manageability.

Can’t I just upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8?

No. You will need to do a clean install. This means you will need to migrate the users’ data and reinstall or repackage all their applications for the new OS. This will take some time to test all of the hardware, peripherals and applications to ensure they will work with Windows 7 or Windows 8. I have listed some free tools at the end of this post to help with all of those areas.

What if I choose to stay on Windows XP and not migrate?

Using XP after April 2014 is an “at your own risk” situation for any customers choosing not to migrate.

How long has Windows XP been around?

Microsoft will have supported Windows XP for nearly 12 years next April.

Are there good financial reasons to leave XP?

According to IDC: *

  • Over a three-year timespan, organizations that make the move to a modern OS will see a 137% return on investment.
  • When taking into account the time needed to manage XP systems relating to items such as downtime, malware, and other maintenance, Windows 7 increases productivity by up to 7.8 additional hours per year per worker.
  • Annual costs on maintenance for systems running Windows 7 compared to XP drop by a massive $700/year.

I have never done application compatibility testing or deployed an operating system. Where do I start?

First of all, start by downloading the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT). It removes the need for disc imaging, migrates your data in place during deployment, and (best of all) it’s free.

Here are some other tools to help make your move from easier:

Still need more information?

Enterprise Decision Makers should visit the Windows Enterprise site to learn about other customers who have moved to a modern OS and to see the cost savings in moving to Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8 Enterprise.

IT pros should visit The Springboard Series on TechNet to learn how to Explore, Plan, Deliver, Operate and Support Windows 7 and 8 in your environment

Small Business should go to the Small Business Zone to learn how Windows 8 Pro can be a great fit for your organization.


* Source: Mitigating Risk: Why Sticking with Windows XP is a Bad Idea (IDC/Microsoft White Paper), Al Gillen, May 2012

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  • Regarding activations, as long as you have a legitimate copy of Windows XP and meet the activation requirements, you will be allowed to activate Windows XP even though it will not be supported and you will receive no updates.

  • XP Mode is a full version of XP running in a VM to run an app. The issue is, even if drivers are supported,  XP Mode will no longer be supported after the 4/8/14 date as it is XP running under the hood. XP Mode is not a viable solution. In short, you will either have to work directly with the manufacture and pay for Win 7 drivers (if that is even an option with the manufacture) or purchase supported hardware. As for activation, I am waiting on an answer from support.

  • Stephen,

    Can you answer my question concerning the Microsoft policy regarding activations (over the internet) of XP-Home and/or XP-Pro after the announced end of XP support in April 2014?  In conjunction with that end of XP support will Microsoft no longer activate (over the internet) new installations (or reinstallations) of XP?  If not, then

    [re]installations of XP would suffer the default 30 day time out.

  • Thanks for replying Stephen.  I did a little more research and see an XP-Mode for Win7.  Do you know if this is a virtual XP that may accept existing XP Device drivers thus enabling an older machine to run native Win7 while still allowing--under the XP mode--existing XP apps in harmony with the devices they presume?

  • KamusDancer,

    Driver support is something that happens on the manufactures side, not ours. For devices like printers, HMIs, and  older PCs and laptops, the manufacture of those devices must decide if they wish to continue support and create updated drivers for Windows 7 and 8. Considering many of those devices are now between 5-8 years old (or older) and out of warranty, those manufactures may choose not to invest in building drivers and continuing to support those devices.

  • Our business has depended on many computers (eg, custom--asus mb's and commercial Gateway, Compaq, HP, Sony, and Dell) all running XPSP3 (Home and Pro) for many years.  The web support for these machines has proven pretty good for getting the needed legacy device drivers.  When we tried installing purchased copies of Win7 we found show stopper issues with getting device drivers to work under Win7 on these older machines. So the XP end of life seems to threaten with an expensive need for concomitant hardware replacement.  In conjunction with the retirement in 2014 of XP support will Microsoft offer any additional support for legacy device drivers that will work under Win7?

  • When XP support is ended in 2014 will XP reinstall activations (over the internet) also be terminated?

  • yuhong
    5 Posts

    "nearly 12 years"

    12.5 years, actually.

  • yuhong
    5 Posts

    The reason this article don't mention Vista is probably that Extended Support for it ends in 2017, only three years after XP.

  • I have seen Windows 2000 leave support.  All that has happened is that I never wake up in the morning with the computer hung up on a failed update.  The loss of support has been a positive experience.  I am looking forward to a like experience with Windows XP.  I will continue to use Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 7 to a limited degree.  Windows 2000 stability is unrivaled by any other Windows version.  Windows 8 offers a UI that I will have nothing to do with.

  • Will Microsoft entertain the notion of selling Windows XP lock, stock, etc?

  • John-L_
    0 Posts

    Will all the change activity since the XP SP3 release be collected into a final, albeit unsupported, update (SP4, or perhaps SP3+)?

  • Bob,

    Thanks for the feedback. That guide (as is much of the content on TechNet) is geared towards IT pros to help migrate business machines to a modern OS. They have different needs and considerations that the average consumer or small business user. There are consumer guides available on answers.com and windows.com that may be more useful to you in your migration.

  • zedex99
    0 Posts

    I live alone, all my computers are in the house, there are no other users. I use XP for my hobbies, photography, genealogy and history. I don't need all the more modern stuff. I plan to continue to use XP on a desktop which will not connect to the internet. I have a Blackberry Playbook and another computer (Windows 7 OS) which do connect to the internet. If the programmes on the main working computer require input from outside it will be provided from a scanned thumbdrive. So when microsoft quits providing support, I'll just disconnect one cable.

  • IL
    15 Posts


    By "new Win7/IE10 Common Controls OCXs version 2.1 issue" do you mean the issue that VB6 does not load common controls after installing IE10? answers.microsoft.com/.../484d3294-162c-41d8-b349-1c90dff9b36b


    Do you actually think that "Automating the Migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 End-to-End" 20-pages guide is for mere mortals? IMHO, much more straithforward guide without unnecessary ifs and thens is needed to make the subject clear and usable by broader circle of people.

  • xpclient
    50 Posts

    I had to develop my own solution, Classic Shell, to fix the horrid Vista/7 user experience. Windows 8 can't even be 100% fixed by Classic Shell, only the Start menu issue is fixed. Many issues remain. Microsoft's failing UX is the cause of such failure - of Vista first, now Windows 8. Incompetent people in UX team is why MS lost its dominance to Apple and Android.

  • Bob56
    0 Posts

    I forgot to mention the Win7 SP1 ADO binary compatibility fiasco and the new Win7/IE10 Common Controls OCXs version 2.1 issue that recently cropped up and is just about as nasty.

  • Bob,

    Before coming to Microsoft, I was a staunch supporter of Windows Vista SP1. As an MVP, I did a lot of events around it.  I understand your comments around UI but Windows 7 made big strides around security, boot times, compatibility, mobility and more. It built upon the solid foundation of Windows Vista and took it to the next level. Windows 8, does that again with even faster boot times, better security, advanced mobility features and more.

    I appreciate the feedback and it's great to meet (virtually) another Windows Vista advocate. Thank you.

  • Bob56
    0 Posts

    "A modern OS refers to Windows 7 and Windows 8..."


    Some of us invested in Vista and never had serious issues or badmouthed it.  While i have Win7 machines and even a Win7 Ultimate next to me in an unopened box I far prefer Vista's UI because it lacks the pastel, washed-out Win7 look.  If there was a way around this besides Classic mode I would have upgraded all of my machines to Win7 by now.