Did I just hear this right? Microsoft activation servers will allow new XP installs after doomsday?

Did I just hear this right? Microsoft activation servers will allow new XP installs after doomsday?

Summary: Okay, sit on down. You're gonna need to.

TOPICS: Microsoft, Windows

Microsoft never ceases to baffle me with their policies. For the past few years, we've had this ongoing hullabaloo about the end of support for Windows XP, come April 8, 2014. I even called it the XPocalypse.

You all know the story. Microsoft will stop updating and patching XP after that date. All the bad guys the world over are rubbing their hands together with glee about all the systems that are justing waiting to be pwned.

Microsoft says "Move on." It's time. XP is old. Vista came and went. Windows 7 came and stayed. Windows 8, well, Windows 8 is it's own long story. The point is, XP is ancient and it's time to let it die a dignified death, says my ZDNet colleague Ed Bott.

Fine. I get all that. I even agree with all that.

Kill XP. Don't support it. Don't upgrade it. Don't do security patches for it. Don't even let Microsoft Security Essentials update on XP. Just. Let. It. Die.

This is the mantra we've been getting from Redmond. XP is going to die.

And then. If this were video, you'd see me shaking my my fist at the sky with a furious expression on my face. Because I read something. Something that's UN-EFFIN-BELIEVABLE.

Okay, sit on down. You're gonna need to.

Our own Mary Jo Foley wrote what you'd think would be a harmless little piece. We all pretty much know the story, so what new and un-effin could we possibly discover from her Windows XP end of support in April: Three more questions answered?

Here it is. Microsoft is stopping all support for XP. They're stopping all updates of XP. They're stopping all security for XP. But -- oh my gosh I can't believe I'm typing this -- if you decide to install XP and activate it after April 8, they're going to let you.

That's right. The Microsoft activation servers will allow new XP installs to activate after doomsday.


Topics: Microsoft, Windows


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • It's called choice.

    Microsoft has made it plainly clear that XP won't be supported. However, they are not going to stop you from using the system you paid for oh-so-long-ago. This is a good call from Microsoft.
    • I Agree - No reason for people to get their panties in a bunch

      Microsoft may finally be getting smart. What do they care if people install Windows XP after they drop support for it. Not their problem. Iinstall XP(not that I will since I am happy with Windows 7) and then get a virus, my problem. And I am okay with that. Choice, choice, choice is what I want in my operating system. I wanna make my own choices, Julie Larson are you listening?

      The author is making much ado about nothing, honestly.
      • It's just like driving an older car

        Just because my older car doesn't have airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control and an annoying computerized voice telling me where to turn doesn't mean I shouldn't be able to drive it if I want to.

        XP is like a comfortable pair of sneakers with holes in the soles. It has a lot of useful life left in it, especially on older but still functional hardware. The last patch Microsoft should send out at the end of March should be an override for the activation so its servers don't even need to be used.
    • What MS should have done

      was not require XP activation. You shouldn't have to touch their servers ever again. You got updates to 4/8/14, then it's vulnerable from that point on. At this point XP is useless to Windows, so why rerquire activation anyway? What they should do is make every part of the OS as possible open source without giving away the pieces of the OS they modified for current use (win 7, 8, 8.1, current software, etc). This OS would make a good open source project.
      • So then people could install without validating it?

        That would actually be the opposite of what MS wants. That would allow people to willy nilly install XP on whatever they want and potentially however many devices they want. Making it marginally a free OS. I can just see the XP numbers suddenly spike if it were to become a free, non-validated OS.
        • So what?

          Microsoft didn't collapse with Windows 2000, and that never required activation, even during its supported time. Technically, one could call it a 'marginally free OS' by the same standard, and yet XP did just fine...as did Win7. Hell, the corporate versions of WinXP never did require activation either, and the only issues with them were that you wouldn't be able to update if you had a known blacklisted key. Once Microsoft stops making patches at all, well, that's not going to be much of a problem, either.

          I concur with the grandparent post; taking away activation as a requirement is a good idea. Microsoft doesn't sell XP, and they're no longer supporting XP, so even if it becomes 'the de facto free but unsupported flavor of Windows' in the same way that Windows 2000 was around 2006, it's clearly not an untraveled road.

    • I thought the same thing

      it's like anything - you own it, so just because the company that made the product no longer supports it via parts or warranty, they don't stop you from using it.
  • Guess I Understand

    We have a XP computer that supports hardware where updated drivers are not available. Security Risk - No, the computer is not tied to any network.

    I imagine a lot of companies have issues such as this and in some cases they may need to replace those computers. So yeah I can see Microsoft allowing activations.
  • I don't see a problem with it...

    ...as long as people know what they are getting into. But yes, it is time to move on.
    • Dave is on an island here...

      ...I don't see a single person commenting that agrees with him.
  • There's this little thing called "I paid for it"

    Which has a whole lot of implications - one of them is called "being allowed to install it."

    It may be inadvisable. It may be really dumb. But its also a paid-up customer's right.
    • Not necessarily a customer's right to install.

      When you buy it you are buying a LICENSE. This is a contract that says you have the right to install it. It also says that Microsoft, at their sole discretion, maintains the right to terminate the license for any reason, with or without a notification to the customer. Usually this is used to revoke the license of someone engaging in piracy of the software. But it is written so broadly that it gives MS the legal right to terminate the license for ANY reason. So legally speaking, if MS really wanted to FORCE you off of Windows XP, they could just issue a statement saying that effective immediately all Windows XP licenses are terminated. This would mean that your continued use of Windows XP would actually be ILLEGAL. And to avoid committing a crime you would HAVE TO switch to something other than Windows XP.
  • However

    Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 (supported till 2019) is basically XP Embedded. So MS are, in effect, still supporting XP
    • Only an Idiot

      would run Microsoft software on a POS system.

      That's what got Target into the mess with their security breach!
      • Only an idiot wouldn't

        as most of the industy's hardware is Windows only!
      • Really? Target now? I heard they accessed the terminals

        through a Linux based machine or device.

        Hey, if we're just going to blame OS's, lets look at how it was accessed in the first place.
  • I dont get what is wrong with that

  • Damned if they do, damned if they don't

    I suspect the hyphenated bloggers here would rant about how Microsoft is screwed people who bought XP if they turned off the activation servers. That people were getting cheated out of using the software they paid for and that it is nothing more than a heavy handed ploy by Microsoft to force users to upgrade.

    Microsoft is doing the right thing. If people want or need to use XP, they should be able too. Turning off the activation servers will not change that.
    • That's the first rule for any blogger

      1. Bash Microsoft, er...M$, no matter what they do.

      If they patch software, bash them for releasing buggy software.
      If they don't patch software, bash them for not supporting software.

      If they bundle an internet browser, accuse them of squashing competition. If they don't include one, then bash them for being stupid and not including a web browser.

      If they change the user interface, accuse them of forcing it down people's throats. If they don't change the user interface, bash them for not being "modern".

      MS can never win, no matter what they do!
  • Did I just hear this right? Microsoft activation servers will allow new XP

    There is a difference between support and activation. Microsoft will not support Microsoft Windows XP but they will let you reinstall it if you need to. I need to sit down at the fact that is not a big deal and you are making it into one more so than the idea of Microsoft leaving its activation server turned on.