Microsoft may end antivirus updates on XP in April

Microsoft may end antivirus updates on XP in April

Summary: If you continue to use Windows XP after it goes end-of-life next April you won't just be without security patches. You'll be without signature updates for your Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus.

TOPICS: Security, Windows

Just days after sending a clear message about the trouble awaiting Windows XP users next April when Microsoft ends security updates for the operating system (and for Office 2003), the company is saying that it may also stop delivering antivirus signature updates for Microsoft Security Essentials, their free antimalware product.

A spokesperson issued the following statement:

Microsoft will not guarantee updates of our antimalware signature and engine after the XP end of support date of April 8, 2014. Running antivirus on out of support operating systems is not an adequate solution to help protect against threats. Running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today’s threat landscape.  In addition, Microsoft recommends best practices to protect your PC such as:  1) running up to date antivirus, 2) regularly applying security updates for all software installed, and 3) using modern software that has advanced security technologies and is supported with regular security updates.

Microsoft's message about the advantages of consistently updated software is well-covered ground. By continuing antivirus updates, they would just be enabling behavior they have done their best to discourage. Users who insist on continuing to run Windows XP can shift to one of the other free products (such as Panda, AVG and Avira).

Topics: Security, Windows

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  • Doesn't matter...

    April is still going to be a shit show. Malware authors are sitting on dozens of exploits by this point, and come April, they'l be unleashed to the world.

    Of course people will complain, because Microsoft is the big baddie here by not supporting those users who insist they are somehow "sticking it to the man" by not upgrading.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • They would do better by switching to Linux.

      More stability, easier updates, less hassle.

      And cheaper too.
      • agree!

        Linux is the only viable path!
        LlNUX Geek
        • HA!

          No. Thanks for the laugh, though.
          The one and only, Cylon Centurion
          • Consumers should, maybe

            If you're using a computer from 2002-2004, you probably shouldn't be shelling out for a brand new Windows. Putting some Linux version on there nay makes sense.
            Michael Alan Goff

            I have a lot of customers that run an older version of our proprietary software mainly on XP machines. 18 months ago I started telling them they would need to change by March 2014 and that they could run the old program on Win 7 or 8 32 bit. A fair number were going to keep running the old stuff (hardware and software) forever. Around 20% of those boxes have had major failures in the past 18 months. At under $300 for a basic laptop or tablet it is time for a new box if yours is over 10 years old.
          • My older laptop will essentially be "totaled"

            I have an old COMPAQ N600C (built pre-HP-takeover) which I have upgraded to 1GB and XP only CRAWLS on it. Upgrading to Windows 7 (even the 32-bit version) is out of the question, and it does not pass the hardware compatibility scan for Windows 8 (ANY version) because of new CPU features that were not invented when it was built, and are REQUIRED for Windows 8.

            I downloaded Ubuntu over a year ago, in dual boot, and hit a roadblock on two points: first, in order to use it without wiring it to the router, I have a PC-card wifi adapter from Linksys, for which there is no Linux driver; and second, in order to use it as a backup for my main computer (this newer Windows 7 laptop), it has to be able to access my Dell wireless all-in-one (the earliest one I found, when I bought it, that both prints and SCANS over wifi). And no Linux drivers for that either. I have, on a few occasions, booted it up in XP, and checked to see how long it takes to finish startup THIS time (at least 15 minutes, closer to 30), and I have to manually select booting XP from the Linux boot menu to do that. There is no useful work I can do on it.

            And some of my applications do not have Linux versions anyway. I may put it up for sale to anyone who wants to play with the Linux partition just for fun. Too bad Microsoft didn't put out a "Vintage Windows 8" that would run on the older hardware. I may pull the RAM chips out and see if they could sell on their own (two 512MB chips, and I may have the two old 256MB chips hidden away).
          • Two 512 MB memory chips?

            They're worth about 50¢ each.
          • for a reasonably priced upgrade.

            Umbuntu is great. I found a similar laptop at a used computer store. It ran WinXP at a decent speed, but it was slow. It only cost $25. DiscountPC is a great place to start if you can install an OS yourself. You can certainly save money.

            But for those that are stuck with XP for one reason or another, there are other anti-virus programs. Many Internet Providers give you free anti-virus as part of the service plan. The local cable company includes Norton, and the DSL provider has free McAfee.

            If you have to buy something, I'd recommend F-Prot Anti-Virus. It's reasonably priced, and once installed, keeps your computer running quick, and the company is in Europe, so you know it doesn't have a back-door to the NSA. Also, it isn't so much of a memory hog like Norton or McAfeee can be.
        • LlNUX Geek: "Linux is the only viable path!"

          No, BSD is also a viable path if one is considering an open-source OS. PC-BSD would be the best bet for new BSD users.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Plenty of Pro apps

            that don't run on Linux, sorry, I would be looking at OS X before Linux. Pro Tools, Final Cut Pro X, Logic, Media Composer, etc. etc. It would have to be a highly specialized situation for me to go with Linux and if I chose Linux, i would at least choose a Linux with a support contract and those are typically $300 a year for something like Red Hat.
          • Don't be sorry, NO operating system suits everyone

            As for "Pro apps", it depends entirely on what one happens to be a "Pro" at. Oil and gas upstream pros, especially geophysicists, would opt for a RHEL workstation over a Mac "Pro".
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Linux and/or BSD

            Yep, like 'em both. Ubuntu for the desktop experience and BSD for the server - and it's just a "home" network, but the home network supports 11 devices. Yes, the home is getting automated, but I don;t have to wait for Redmond to come up with their solution. I can build my own, truly understand how it works, its features and its shortcomings and tweak it to my desires. Long live open source.
        • Nope

          Sorry, OS X is a viable path. Plenty of professionals are using OS X. Don't be silly. To get Red Hat Linux w/support, it's $300 a year. Plus, there are a lot of pro level apps that don't run on Linux. It's not mainstream enough for all apps in all market segments of the Pro user. Plus, there are too many variations and there are a LOT of differences that make one not as good as the other.

          I would use Linux for a server, but for a workstation? I'd have to be using an app that only runs on Linux that I have to have, otherwise, I would choose OSX, far more pro apps that run on OSX that don't run on Linux. Sorry, but that's the truth. Plus to get support, Red Hat charges for that. $300 a year.
          • That's assuming you buy new hardware.

            Upgrading from XP to OS X would require buying a Mac, right? It would not help to get a couple more years of life from a PC desktop or laptop. Or does Apple have a version of OSX that can be purchased and loaded onto such a machine?
      • Actually, Linux can be more expensive

        Red Hat Linux with yearly support is $300 a year. Don't be fooled by what you think is cheaper.
        • I don't think so

          Nobody's going to need support for their home installation... anyone putting in Linux will be resourceful enough to figure it out on their own.
    • Paper Tiger

      Hi :)
      I think Microsquish are desperate to push people into buying their newer products.

      One thing that makes Windows unstable is the way automatic updates force focus to move away from work the user wants to do and often then forces a reboot.

      I tend to find Windows actually feels a little more stable after Microsquish have withdrawn support, in some ways. Of course if they are paying devs to write malware then it is going to be a nightmare for a little while. The question is, who benefits most from malware and who gets blamed. Right now it's Microsoft that has the most to gain from malware attacking Xp. Hopefully if they do pay devs to work on that then they will be just as good as the devs who worked on Longhorn, Vista, Win8 or the ribbon-bar in MS Office 2007.

      Their "Security Essentials" turned out to be surprisingly good but there are other 3rd party products that are also good and sometimes better.

      Note that Mac does also have some malware but it's like waves lapping on a beach compared to the tsunami of stuff that Windows can't cope with. Gnu&Linux does have even less but who uses that apart from on smart-phones and tablets?!
      Regards from
      Tom :)
      • You know what?

        Ford, Cheverolet etc. are desperate for people to buy into their newer models, that is where they make their money - new car sales and dealer servicing with original parts during the guarantee period.

        By law they have to make parts available for their products for at least 10 years (I think). Microsoft has done the same with XP and has given users enough warning that they'll be stopping the supply of "spare parts". They've been warning people for over 5 years to look for a replacement.

        Even LTS Linux solutions only provide updates for about half that time, at most. Apple have already abandonded all pre-2007 model Macs from upgrading to a supported OS - neither of my current Macs get security updates from Apple, because they can't run newer versions of the OS and Apple have stopped support for the newest versions of the OS that do support the hardware.

        Funnily enough, I can install Windows 7 or 8 on those Macs and get security updates from Microsoft for them! Oh the irony! (Of course, I can also install Linux on them as well - actually they have SUSE under Bootcamp on them now.)
      • Those who are "forced to upgrade"

        do so because no one forces them to do so. Buy a very expensive Mac instead. Or go to Linux. I don't recall MS, Apple or Linux forcing me, at gunpoint, to upgrade. Besides, why upgrade. Buy a new system, that taking into account the cost of the OS and the new hardware it contains, turns out to be a better deal. Then you install Linux on the old system.