Microsoft Security Essentials Support For Windows XP Ends

Microsoft Security Essentials is the freebie anti-virus tool that Redmond provides for its operating systems.

But now Microsoft has officially terminated the tool’s support for the ancient Windows XP OS.

No More Updates

It is a known fact that Windows XP is still in use by many customers, and indeed governments agencies and businesses around the world, despite it being launched fourteen years ago in late 2001.

Microsoft officially stopped supporting the venerable OS on 8 April 2014, putting an end to its monthly security patches and bug fixes. This potentially opened up security risks for millions of users and organisations still using Windows XP.

Some organisations such as the US Navy, which still has 100,000 workstations running Windows XP, have signed a deal with Microsoft to keep Windows XP supported.

But many users are not supported and are therefore at risk. Some Windows XP users put their trust in continuing to use freebie anti-virus solutions such as Microsoft Security Essentials to protect themselves, after Microsoft promised to continue updates “for a limited time” after the April 2014 cut-off.

But now that “limited time” update period is at an end.

Security expert Graham Cluley spotted the warning contained in a message from Microsoft.

“The Malicious Software Removal Tool and updates to Microsoft Security Essentials will continue to be provided for Windows XP through July 14, 2015.”

This means that after that date, updates for Microsoft Security Essentials will no longer be provided for Windows XP users.

“My best recommendation to you is to stop using Windows XP entirely, especially if your XP computer is connected to the internet,” said Cluley. “Simply finding an alternative anti-virus to run on Windows XP can only be considered a stop-gap, as the updates will not continue indefinitely.”

XP Laggards

But Windows XP die-hards persist. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States paid Microsoft to support its 58,000 Windows XP systems back in April 2014.

And on this side of the pond, a freedom of information (FoI) request last autumn found that all NHS trusts were still using XP in some form. Another FoI request more recently revealed that London’s Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) still has more than 35,000 systems running Windows XP.

In May technology bosses at the British government opted not to renew the extended support agreement for the ancient Windows XP operating system.

What do you know about Windows XP? Try our quiz!

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

View Comments

  • I don't know what's more concerning, that so many people are still using Windows XP or that a large number of those who still uses XP is actually the U.S. Government. According to the article it seems that they still have support via contract but it's still concerning to me that the Government has still yet moved on with regards to a more secured advanced os.

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