Microsoft has started counting down to the day it ends all support for Windows XP, April 8, 2014. XP was released way back in October 25th 2001, so when Microsoft cuts it adrift, it will be over 12 years old.
According the statistics from StatCounter, Windows XP was the most widely used operating system worldwide until mid-September last year when Windows 7 started surpassing it. In Australia, this happened much earlier, with Windows 7 usage overtaking Windows XP around Feb 2011 and the US following suit 2 months later in April 2011. While it’s declining in usage, it is still the second most used operating system worldwide as of October 2012, with 27% share of usage followed by Mac OSX at 7.59%.
Source: StatCounter. The blue line represents Windows XP and the yellow line represents Windows 7.
Microsoft is not only pulling the plug on Windows XP but Office 2003 support as well.
So what does this mean to home or business users who are still using XP and Office 2003? End of support means any further security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options as well as online technical content updates will cease from April 8, 2014. The most important thing to note here is that without security updates or patches, the operating system will be vulnerable to security risks especially from hackers looking for security holes.
If you’re a business user of Windows XP, it may cost you more to keep the old operating system going. A US report by IDC, a global provider of market intelligence for the tech industry, showed that costs to user productivity nearly doubled over time (from $177 in year 2 to $324 in year 5) from higher levels of downtime due to security woes, time wasted waiting for help desk response and time spent rebooting systems. This is in addition to costs of having IT personnel maintaining an older system which this study showed an increase from $451 to $766 per PC per year in a period over 3 years.
So if you are a Windows XP user or know someone who is, there’s still time to prepare yourself for an upgrade to a newer operating system but you’re better off doing it sooner rather than later for the reasons cited above.
Microsoft has a countdown gadget which you can download from here should you wish to keep your eyes on the clock. Unfortunately, this gadget is only compatible with Windows 7 and Windows Vista. If you need one that works on Windows XP, here’s one you can try: Free Countdown Timer.