Chrome 50 Will Finally Drop Windows XP Support

One of the prices of great success is that they never go away even when you want them to. Microsoft has been dealing with this problem ever since they dropped Windows XP support back in 2014. Now, 2 years later and 15 years since launch, the OS is still very popular and ahead of all OSX computers combined. In what is happy news for Microsoft, Google is dropping Windows XP support with Chrome 50.

When Microsoft first took Windows XP off support, Google and Mozilla both promised their respective browsers would continue to support the OS for a year. After extending the deadline for a year, Google has decided enough is enough. Moving forwards, Chrome won’t install on Windows XP and things like sync and account sign in might not work even with current Chrome installations  once Chrome versions advance enough.

For those you who still insist on using Windows XP and want to browse, there is still Firefox 45 which supports the OS. How long Mozilla will continue supporting the OS remains to be seen. Given the fact that you’re running an unsupported OS, though, running an unsupported browser is likely the least of your worries. Perhaps, one day XP will truly die, at least for network connected devices.

Windows XP Still Powers 181 Million PCs

Microsoft XP is the operating system that just won’t die it seems. Even now, two years after support for Windows XP finally ended, it has been found that 181 million PCs around the world still use the dated operating system from 2001.

Whether 181 million PCs is a lot in a world where computers seem to be everywhere seems to be hard to measure, but US-based analytics vendor Net Applications released some metrics to put it into perspective. They found that these Windows XP machines made up as much as 11% of all personal computers and 12% of all Windows-running PCs. This difference is due to Windows’ share of the PC market being 91.5% and not 100%. This also means that Windows XP has a larger user-base than all versions of Apple’s Mac OSX, by as much as 40%. XP was also found to be the fourth most used version of Windows to this day, only falling behind Windows 7 at 861 million,  Windows 10 at 235 million and Windows 8/8.1 at 199 million.

While XP usage in the US is fairly low with a market share of only 3.2%, other countries have a much bigger XP problem, most notably China. Numbers on the exact usage of this outdated version of Windows in China seem to vary, its usage is between 26.2% and 31.6% depending on the source.

At its current rate of decline according to Net Applications, Windows XP is set to drop into single digit percentages for usage by as soon as May, but we could be waiting until March 2017 before it finally falls below 5%, almost 3 years since it was ended. Windows XP migration is tough at this point. For those still using XP, the OS is incapable of upgrading to the newest Windows 10 OS, requiring 7 to be a stepping stone along the way. The easier option is simply purchasing a new PC with a newer version of Windows, but for many this isn’t an option.

EA Origin Dropping Pre-Windows 7 Support

As many users undoubtedly learned the hard way with Windows XP, software support doesn’t last forever. This is doubly true of regular software which can often just drop support without much warning and stop working. Luckily, this is not the case with EA, which has announced plans to drop support for Origin on systems that are using any OS prior to Windows 7, mainly Windows XP and Vista.

Improved the way Origin handles outdated operating systems, and reduced support for Windows XP and Windows Vista.

As part of the transition, EA is already dropping some features when they are updating Origin. After August though, Origin users on Windows XP and Vista will no longer be able to download/install games, not utilize the shop. Luckily, installed games and updates will continue to work, meaning those of you planning to stay on an older OS can pre-download any games you want to keep playing on the old system.The biggest problem will be with older games that aren’t quite compatible with newer operating systems.

This whole issue begs the question as to why EA is dropping support for XP and Vista. Afterall, the whole point of Windows is to run older software and Vista is pretty much the same as 7. Perhaps, EA wants to move Origin to newer development models which XP and Vista don’t support. With the two operating systems having less than 3% marketshare according to Steam, similar to the numbers for OSX, EA probably won’t be losing much sleep over any lost customers. With the numbers Windows 7 has, there is still plenty of breathing room for those of you on that OS, so rest easy for now.

UK Nuclear Submarines Use Windows XP

Technology changes all the time, and operating systems are no different. From the era of DOS and punch cards to modern day touch screens and augmented reality, you can find every generation making their mark in a new way. With Windows 8 no longer receiving updates people are recommended to update to either 8.1 or Windows 10 to avoid security risks. The problem being, Nuclear Submarines use Windows XP still.

With the argument raging regarding if the UK still requires nuclear submarines, the large cost of which is a key part of the argument, cutting a few pounds here and there can only be good right? In a recent decision, the Royal Navy installed a variant of Windows XP (Windows for Submarines) onto their Vanguard-Class Submarines.

While operating in isolation and with so many years of updates and security investigations on the operating system, the Ministry of Defence is confident that the system will “remain safe and secure”. This comes amongst a series of wargames and exercises designed to help test and train people from across the world, all while concerns about submarines long term “stealth abilities” are being questioned due to the addition of swarms of drones and new systems being developed to counter them.

Networks are most at risk due to their access from external sources, and while cutting down on these is a great first step you will always be at risk. Using outdated software is risky, no matter how much support has been put into it but with more and more research and development being made into these systems you can be certain that anything they find will quickly be fixed.

Windows 8 To Stop Receiving Security Updates

Microsoft recently cut off support for their popular operating system, Windows 7. In light of this, you would think their later operating systems would have a little longer left on the clock? Not if you are one of the users who stuck with Windows 8.

The follow-up and slightly controversial operating system which was only released three years ago. Typically windows support an operating system for 10 years, but Windows 8 received more than a few bad reviews covering everything from their new Metro start menu to the difficulty users had with software even when run in compatibility mode. Windows 8 will stop receiving the all important security updates as of January 12th.

The reason for the cut short updates? Windows 8.1, the solution that Microsoft provided to the problems many faced. Originally cited as a “service pack” and released nearly a year after Windows 8 made its debut, the “service pack” in question rounded off a lot of criticisms people had with Windows 8, offering more customizability and fixing a lot of the technical difficulties that people faced.

While originally released as a free update for Windows 8, there is still roughly 3% of desktop users who use the operating system as of December 2015. While this may be scary, Windows XP stopped receiving security updates in April 2014 and still accounts for roughly 11%, we don’t know however how many of these systems are used by companies, a fact that would be even scarier given what data they could have about you on their system.

If you’re still using Windows 8 it may be worth looking at an upgrade, if not to Windows 8.1 then maybe check out Windows 10, an operating system that people can upgrade to for free from Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 until summer.

Google Dropping Chrome Support for XP, Vista and OSX 10.8

Even when Microsoft dropped public support for Windows XP last year, many large organizations continued to pay for extended support. Not surprisingly, Google also continued to support Windows XP for their popular Chrome browser. That’s set to finally end though next year in April 2016; that marks the 2 year anniversary since Microsoft officially dropped XP support.

Originally set to end at the same time as Microsoft’s support, the cut-off date ended up getting extended twice. First, it was extended for 1 year till this April. When that deadline neared, Google ended up relenting and continued to support the aging OS till the end of the year. Now finally and for real this time, the support will end after an additional 5 months have been tacked on.

In other news, Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 will all lose support in April as well. This is also long after Apple has given up on these systems. Ironically, Vista will also lose support the same day as XP will, despite being released a full 5 years later than the venerable OS. This also comes despite that fact that Windows Vista will be supported by Microsoft till April 2017. This speaks to the lack of popularity of the much-maligned OS that was eventually patched to near Windows 7 levels of usability.

Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade to Windows 10 Today

Introduction


The launch date of Windows 10 has finally arrived after an extensive Beta testing period for users in the Windows Insider Program. Microsoft’s latest operating system is designed to be light on system resources and implement the Metro user-interface in a less obnoxious way. Windows 8 was heavily criticized by Microsoft customers, game developers and even Valve who became so concerned, they pushed their own Linux-based operating system. Microsoft’s strategic direction was too focused on mobile devices and tried to implement touch functionality at the expense of Desktop PCs.

Microsoft made a catastrophic error in trying to enforce full-screen applications through the Metro user-interface. As a result, it was extremely awkward to arrange multiple Windows and the OS felt pretty cluttered. Furthermore, navigating to newly installed programs, the Control Panel or advanced settings seemed counter-intuitive and hidden behind too many sub-menus. The end result was a terrible operating system for power users or customers opting for a traditional keyboard and mouse control scheme.

Windows 8.1 alleviated some of these concerns but kept the garish Metro system and Microsoft were unwilling to admit defeat. Many users derogatorily refer to Windows 8 as “the next Vista” and refuse to upgrade from the highly acclaimed Windows 7 operating system. Given the amount of disdain Windows 8 received, you might be a little perplexed about not upgrading today. However, there are a number of factors which you should take into consideration before upgrading.

Slow Download Servers


As with any digital product launch, the download servers are being hammered and resulting in extremely slow download speeds. This can create a rather frustrating experience as the queues grow and Microsoft struggles to keep up with demand. Perhaps waiting a few days is a more cogent option so you can download the update when the servers aren’t overpopulated. Also, the free download only applies to existing customers. Subsequently, you cannot legitimately acquire an ISO from a fast mirror and apply the update yourself. Personally, I would perform a re-format of my existing operating system, then install Windows 10; unless you have a boot SSD and few programs, this may take a while.

Windows 10 Could Suffer From Undocumented Compatibility Problems


Despite undergoing a thorough Beta testing phase, Windows 10 hasn’t been adopted on such a widespread scale. This means various third-party programs, games or hardware could experience teething problems. For example, older printers using a Parallel to USB converter might no longer work until the manufacturer releases a fix. Of course, this is a very small percentage of people but emphasizes what kind of problems you might run into. More commonly, many older games could become unstable or fail to detect the platform being used. It shouldn’t be a major issue due to Windows’ compatibility mode, but it’s something to be wary of.

Additionally, mods or unofficial game patches are untested and it’s sensible to let others be the guinea pig. Another factor to take into consideration is the amount of old games like Wing Commander which already struggle on modern operating systems. Windows 10 is brand new, so the amount of threads with information to get the game running will be minimal. Hopefully, the Windows 8.1 fixes work on Windows 10, but this is still an unknown entity.

DirectX 12 is Here, the Games are not


In terms of potential, DirectX 12 is one of the most revolutionary changes to PC Gaming in over a decade. This new low-level API reduces CPU overheads and theoretically increases the performance of games by an estimated 20%. However, there are no games on the market able to leverage this extra performance and it’s up to developers to begin supporting the new API. Realistically, this could take at least a year before modern games are reworked to use DirectX 12.

A large quantity of older games were produced by defunct studios and unable to implement DirectX 12 functionality. I highly doubt this could be done by a modder since the engine needs to be reworked. The data on DirectX 12 is quite new and we need to wait until the API has matured before analyzing its significance. Make no mistake, DirectX 12 will be a monumental change, but gamers shouldn’t expect to see this anytime soon.

Windows 10 Will be Free for a Year


It’s remarkably easy to get into the hullabaloo of a product launch and be disappointed by the final result. There’s no need to rush if you want to upgrade because Windows 10 will remain free for an entire year. As such, you could wait a month to see how well the operating system has been received and until the launch bugs are patched. Perhaps Windows 10 doesn’t offer enough of an improvement from Windows 7 and isn’t worth the hassle of learning a new visual style. This will be fairly prominent with those who aren’t technically minded and struggle to navigate around an operating system.

The Metro UI Still Exists


For all Windows 10’s posturing about returning to its Desktop roots, the Metro UI is still an integral component, albeit in a less obtrusive manner. In Windows 10, clicking the Start icon brings up the familiar Start menu. Unfortunately, this takes up a lot more space as the Metro icons are positioned adjacent to the Start menu. Once pressed, the menu can take up to 50% of your screen space instead of the narrow 20% seen in Windows 7. Microsoft’s ideology revolves and integrating all their services together including mobile, PC and Xbox. This sounds like a good idea, but I strongly believe Microsoft should release two versions of Windows 10; a Metro-based tablet edition and PC version which drops the Metro UI completely.

Windows 8 or 8.1 users can download an invaluable tool called Classic Shell which removes the Metro UI and replaces it with a simple, yet customizable Start menu. I’m surprised Microsoft didn’t take greater notice of this software which creates a much better experience than Windows’ 10 default setup. While the tool should work on Windows 10, this is just another example of how previous operating systems can be made more intuitive than Microsoft’s latest effort.

Final Thoughts


Windows 10 is shaping up to be a highly successful release, as Microsoft attempts to transfer individuals from older operating systems through the free upgrade incentive. Despite this, launch dates are always marred with a wide array of problems. In this case, the servers are almost at breaking point and I wouldn’t recommend downloading the update right now. Furthermore, DirectX 12 games could be some time off, and the Metro user-interface is still an integral part of the user-experience.

There’s no need to rush out and instantly download the update either as the average user will not majorly benefit from upgrading today. This doesn’t apply to technology enthusiasts or tweakers who want to play with the latest operating system. I’m still wary about the lack of mature drivers for unusual peripherals and wonder if they will work without any complications.

Microsoft has hinted that this could be the last version of Windows formally released. After that, Windows could possibly become a service platform which evolves without reselling the operating system as a product revision. Windows 10 is here and you should definitely upgrade, but now is probably not the best time for everyone.

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Warned for Using Windows XP

Wow, this is rather scary news. The Japan Times have reported that Tokyo Electric Power Co. or more commonly known – Tepco has come under fire from an auditor for trying to save money on their infrastructure by delaying their Windows XP upgrade despite windows XP costing 5 times more to run. The company has been using windows XP to run computers that suffered the triple meltdown 4 years ago in 2011.

“Tepco — effectively nationalized through a government bailout after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011 — was hoping to save ¥3.6 billion ($30 million) by continuing to run about 48,000 computers on Windows XP until 2018,”. The Japan Times wrote. “In a report last month, the Board of Audit warned the company not to be so stingy.”

It is now well over a year since Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows XP support, yet millions of computers are still running the 14 year old operating system. When the support ceased,  computers running Windows XP no longer receive new updates to their operating system and users can no longer download security essentials for the device too.

Microsoft made the push to leave Windows XP for major security reasons and urged end users to upgrade to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. However at this rate they may as well wait until Windows 10 is released, although they may need to temporarily use Windows 7 or 8.1 if they need to upgrade immediately.

Thank you to BGR for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of StaticWorld

Google Continues to Patch up Their Chrome for Windows XP Until the End of the Year

Are you a Google Chrome user that hasn’t upgraded since Windows XP? Well, the future looks bright and full of patches! Google just announced that it will provide support for its Windows XP browser up until the end of year!

The decision apparently was made for the company to add an extra layer of security to the decommissioned operating system. Microsoft has announced on the 8th of April 2014 that it will stop providing support for its XP operating system, therefore it has been over a year since the OS received any security updates.

“At the operating system level, computers running XP are inherently in danger of being infected by malware and viruses, making it increasingly difficult for Chrome to provide a secure browsing environment. That’s why we strongly encourage everyone to update to a supported, secure operating system.” Google states in their blog post.

But why make a hassle out of it and keep updating old stuff? Because a lot of people still use it, that’s why! The number of XP users is said to still be in the millions and that means that millions of people are still using an outdated ‘protectionless’ operating system. Crazy, isn’t it? If you are one of those people, it might not be.

Google aims to keep the current XP users secure and updated, at least when they browse the Web. However, the company is not planning to do this indefinitely! Google stated that it will continue updating the XP Chrome browser up until the end of the year. After that, you’re on your own!

“We will continue to provide regular updates and security patches to Chrome on XP through the end of 2015.” Google stated in the same blog post.

How about you? Are you still using Windows XP and the Chrome browser? Do you feel more secure that Google is pushing updates to its browser client? Let us know!

Image courtesy of Google

Windows XP Has More Users than Windows 8.x, Not Bad for an OS That Is 14 Years Old

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there are still many people using Windows XP. Though, it may be surprising to learn that the desktop market share of the 14 year old OS has more market share than the recent Windows 8 versions (Win 8/ Win 8.1).

According to Net Application’s collected data Windows 8.x ended March with 14.07% of the market share for desktops. Windows XP ended the month with 16.94%, beating Windows 8.x by 2.87%.  Going back to November 2014 Windows 8.x had a combined market share of 18.65% against XP at 13.57%. Surprisingly November 2014 was the only month that Win 8.x beat out XP. This is pretty surprising given that XP is no longer officially supported by Microsoft, with support having been ended a year ago. Could this be the reason for Microsoft saying that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade? It would be a safe bet just by looking at the numbers, and with Windows 10 actually looking pretty great, it is a win for everyone.

Source: Hot Hardware

Microsoft To Punish Windows XP Holdouts With Doubled Support Costs

Microsoft is so keen to persuade Windows XP users to finally upgrade that it is doubling the support costs for the aging operating system. Despite XP being followed by three different iterations – Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 – many home and business users continue to rely on the 14-year-old software.

The per-PC price of Microsoft custom support agreements for enterprise users will rise to $400 (£249), double the previous fee. Though official Microsoft support for the OS ended on 8th April 2014, 15.17% of the world’s PCs still run Windows XP.

Though Windows XP is still preferred by a significant number of users, the operating system is vulnerable to memory injection attacks, a problem that is not solvent for Microsoft to patch, considering its understandable focus on supporting its more current operating systems, especially with the release of Windows 10 on the horizon. Since there’s no practical way of making XP safe, Microsoft is making it as unattractive as possible not to upgrade.

Source: Daily Tech

Windows Community Working On Service Pack 4 For XP

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in April of this year meaning no more security updates or OS patches. Despite the end of support Windows XP is still incredibly popular in the business sector such as on company PCs and even on ATMs, the latest figures suggest about 25% of PCs worldwide run XP. This high usage means that there is still an interest in making XP work, so it isn’t surprising that the Windows community is working on updating XP itself and there are even plans for an unofficial service pack 4.

Windows XP’s “Unofficial” Service Pack 4 will be developed by Ryan VanderMeulen who has a long track record of releasing fixes for Windows operating systems. The unofficial service pack includes many updates for Microsoft POSReady 2009, which is essentially the embedded version of Windows XP, as well as some custom updates and tweaks.

“Windows XP Unofficial SP4 is a cumulative update rollup for Windows XP (x86). It can be applied to a live Windows XP system which has SP1, at minimum, installed or it can be slipstreamed (integrated) in any Windows XP installation media,” the developer says in the description of its pack….It includes updates for most Windows XP components, including MCE and Tablet PC. Request-only hotfixes have been included. Currently, Microsoft .NET Frameworks 4.0, 3.5, 1.1 and 1.0 (Tablet PC only) are included in the Windows XP SP4 package. You can also scan for POSReady updates, because the POSReady trick has been included. In addition, all post-eol updates for .NET Framework 1.1, 3.5 and 4.0 until May 2014 have been included.” States the developer Ryan VanderMeulen.

The unofficial Windows XP update project isn’t new, it has been in the works since late 2013, though it has only started to gain popularity and recognition since Microsoft ended support in April. Unofficial patches have been rolled out in May, June, July and August so far. You can download the unofficial Service Pack 4 here.

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Microsoft

“Zombie Zero” Malware Starting The XPocalypse For Ageing Windows XP Systems

The end of official support for Windows XP passed in April this year and since then Microsoft has warned of the security risks of continuing to use the outdated OS. Microsoft no longer issues core OS security updates for Windows XP users unless they have purchased expensive personalised support packages from Microsoft. According to Microsoft this makes unprotected Windows XP systems five times more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.

It looks like time could now be running out for Windows XP users as Security Company TrapX warns of a Windows XP based malware infection that is spreading rapidly among business XP systems. The malware allows cybercriminals to steal documents and sensitive data: a huge problem for businesses that run a vulnerable version of Windows XP.

The Zombie Zero malware started in China after terminal scanners running Windows XP embedded were injected with the malware infection. This infection is able interfere with these Windows XP systems and spread the malware further with the help of a centrally controlled Chinese-based botnet. The security issue isn’t necessarily an XP-only problem but security firm TrapX notes that Windows XP systems are more vulnerable given the number of security exploits that exist for it.

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Windows XP Still Runs on 74% of Company PCs In the UK

The reasons for Windows XP’s survival are still not that well known. As good as the OS is, it is extremely dated and most modern consumers find the OS a little tired, dated and lacking in functionality compared to newer operating systems like Windows 7 and Windows 8.X. It appears the reason for Windows XP’s survival can be put down to its success in the business and enterprise sectors. New research conducted by Vanson Bourne and security company Bit9 + Carbon Black suggests that a whopping 74% of computers owned by business in the UK still run Windows XP. From a business perspective that seems like a particularly risky decision given that the official support date for Windows XP ended on April 8th 2014 and Microsoft no longer provides security updates or fixes for the OS unless people purchase expensive extended support packages.

The main reason for the persistence of Windows XP in the OS market comes down to cost. Many businesses simply do not have the resources or time to invest in migrating to a newer operating system. Even with third party antivirus, antimalware and firewall packages Windows XP computers still remain open to operating system level vulnerabilities. Given that 25% of desktop computers globally run Windows XP it can be assumed that the percentage among general consumers is much lower than that given that percentage among business users is still so high.

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Piracy Keeps Windows XP SP3 Alive And Kicking: Still A Top Torrent Download

It is no secret that burying Windows XP is a tough task for Microsoft. Microsoft’s Windows XP is maintaining a strong market share in the global desktop market of around 25% largely due to the proliferation of piracy. This has to be the case with Microsoft’s classic OS because Microsoft no longer allows any new “legal” activations unless an extended support package is purchased. A quick check of a couple of the biggest torrent websites in the world, KickAssTorrents and The Pirate Bay, reveals that Windows XP is still hugely popular in terms of seeders and leechers of P2P torrent files. Windows XP support officially ended in April but that hasn’t stopped pirates downloading the OS in significant numbers. The popularity of pre-configured Windows XP SP3 installations with cracks or activations continues to entice not just pirate consumers but also system builders in emerging markets where piracy is the norm for keeping computer costs down. The piracy rate for Windows 7 is dramatically higher, but it is still surprising to see Windows XP doing so well given its age.

Source: Softpedia

Image #1 courtesy of Microsoft, image #2 courtesy of eTeknix

Windows 8 Losing Users, Linux Continues Growth

Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system has continued to lose users quite rapidly over the course of this year. Between May and June the OS fell from 6.29% to 5.93% with many of those users expected to be going to Windows 8.1 which grew from 6.35 to 6.61%, although the growth of Windows 8.1 is less than the decline in Windows 8 so those other users must be going somewhere else. Where might they be going? Well Interestingly Windows 7 and Windows XP both grew in number, so did Windows Vista meaning all those are possible destinations for bedraggled Windows 8 users.

Linux has also gone from strength to strength rising its market share for the fourth consecutive month to 1.74%, while Mac OS continued its decline losing nearly 1% market share in the same period.The growth of Linux is perhaps the most interesting phenomenon, while the numbers of the growth may be small it is interesting to see desktop users making shifts from the Windows and Mac OS environments towards the open-source rival.

Source: Netmarketshare

Images courtesy of Netmarketshare

Microsoft Still Offering Some Updates To XP Despite End Of Official Support

Microsoft has already made it fairly clear that it wants all Windows XP users to migrate to a newer OS. This is for a number of reasons including the extra revenue that will generate, the fact newer operating systems are better and easier to develop updates for. That’s why Microsoft officially ended support for Windows XP on April 8th 2014, any other updates received will only be for customers who have purchased expensive extended support packages.

However, since the end of the support date Microsoft has already delivered a critical security patch designed to fix Internet Explorer problems on Windows XP. Furthermore, Microsoft also went ahead this month and delivered the June 2014 update to the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool for Windows XP users. Microsoft has also recently pledged that all computers running Windows XP and Microsoft Security Essentials at the time of retirement would also continue to receive updates. However, without operating system updates Microsoft is still leaving XP users vulnerable to security threats even if it is keeping other XP Microsoft software up to date.

Source: McAkins Online, Via: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Windows 8.1 Overtakes Windows XP! But Only In France

Windows 8.1 has done fairly well over the past year managing continued growth in most markets despite the relative failure of Windows 8. In France Windows 8.1 achieved a landmark objective this month as it overtook Windows XP in uptake. Windows 8.1 managed 8.83% of the market and Windows 8 managed 8.5% giving a combined market share of 17.33%. Windows XP has 8.55% of the market putting it fourth, behind Windows 8.1, for the first time. Windows 7 still dominates with a hefty 48.91% of the desktop OS market in France.

Since April 8th 2014 Microsoft’s Windows XP no longer receives updates or security patches meaning all XP users are technically vulnerable unless they purchase extended support packages from Microsoft. Does Windows 8.1 have what it takes to ring the final death knell for Windows XP?

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of StatCounter

American Navy Still Using XP, Will Get Custom Patches From MS

If the reason you were intending to leave XP behind was because it just isn’t cool enough, then think again. According to a report the United States navy is one of the government bodies in America still using Windows XP as its primary operating system. Since Microsoft has withdrawn official support for the operating system the American Navy have signed an agreement with Microsoft for them to continue to provide extended support and custom patches to ensure their PCs are kept safe and secure until an OS migration is made.

“Given the scale and scope of Windows XP’s use, the Department has a Custom Support Agreement with Microsoft that provides support for all critical security hotfixes and helps maintain our security posture for both ashore and afloat networks,” a Navy spokesperson added.

The deal between Microsoft and the U.S Navy lasts 3 years and is worth $3.6 million.

Source: PilotOnline, Via: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Larry S. Carlson

Windows 8.1 Update Now Available!

Microsoft’s latest iteration of Windows has been having incredible difficulty being adopted by Windows users around the world. So much so, that many users fall back to the great Windows 7 or even all the way back to the legendary Windows XP which will be making its way into the history books soon. But the first update for Windows 8.1 is hoping to change all that. It’s bringing back some old tricks and even adding in a few new ones.

This is the first major update to Windows 8.1 and Microsoft is hoping that it’ll help put it’s latest version into the faces of more users.

Some new features include the ability to pin apps to the taskbar, a right-click context menu on the Start screen and a plethora of keyboard and mouse functionality improvements. The one key feature that will still be missing is the highly sought after Start Menu button but it should be added in within the next update or so according to Microsoft.

Also for users that were annoyed by the placement of the power menu which included Shutdown, Restart, Hibernate, and Sleep will hopefully be satisfied where Microsoft has added those options to.

So if you can’t wait to get your hands on the latest and greatest head on over to Neowin for the update files.

 

Thank you to Neowin for providing us with this information.

Windows 9 Could Arrive This Year, Microsoft Aims For Rapid Release Cycles

Speculation about Windows 9 is heating up already. Windows 9 is going to be Microsoft’s next big OS release and they think it will be needed to move Windows users from older operating systems like Windows XP and Windows 7 to newer ones. This is especially true given the relative failure of Windows 8 and the fact Windows 8 seems incapable of moving users from Windows XP and Windows 7 – a new approach is required. Famous Windows leaker WZor claims that we will see the beta version of Windows 9 from May while the final release candidate could be expected later on this year – the Windows 9 RTM is slated for between October 21st and October 25th.

The speculation matches the rhetoric Microsoft had at the latest BUILD conference in June 2013 where former-CEO Steve Ballmer stated that:

“We are moving to an absolutely rapid release cycle, Rapid release, rapid release, rapid release.We’re transitioning from a software company to a company that’s building software, devices and services, And the only way we can do that is to adopt a rapid product release cadence. This is fundamental to what we’re doing, and what we must to do to mobilize our ecosystem and our partners.”

Microsoft speeding up the release cycles for Windows could have both good and bad consequences for consumers. What do you think about the possibility of us seeing Windows 9 this year? I for one haven’t even left Windows 7 yet!

Image courtesy of WinBeta

Source: Softpedia and WZor

Microsoft Publishes Article About Moving People Off XP, Comment Rage Ensues

Microsoft’s often dubious PR and marketing stunts have always been something to sit back and have a good laugh at, below are just a few of some of the examples I can think of:

Microsoft’s latest example barely classifies as a marketing or PR stunt, but it has had a similar effect nonetheless. Microsoft released an article entitled “Help your friends and family get off Windows XP” in an attempt to persuade its loyal followers to convince, assist and persuade family and friends to make the Windows 8.1 upgrade if they are still running XP. The article has been plagued with criticisms from angry readers using a variety of Windows operating systems. Some typifying comments include:

  • thebuzzcjc: “I would trade in Windows 8 for XP every and any day of the week, and consider it a substantial upgrade.”
  • trparky: “As for my feelings of Windows 8/8.1, they are as follows… IT SUCKS!”
  • WL1999: “Microsoft is not listening to customers. I like my Win XP PC and I not interested in upgrading, but I feel I am been forced to. Is it so inconvenient for Microsoft to continue support Windows XP???”

This certainly looks like an article that has backfired heavily on Microsoft; with 86 comments and counting it is certainly worth having a read through what some of the comments have to say.

Do you still use a Windows XP computer? Will you be making the upgrade when the retirement date passes? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft To Be Worried About PCs That Are Still Using Windows XP

According to Redmond’s statistics, Microsoft has around 377,000 PCs in New Zealand alone that are running Windows XP and will be made vulnerable after April 8, 2014. Also, users of the old and popular WIndows XP could affect others who have already upgraded. Personal information could be put at risk as well as business trade secrets, customer account data and more.

“We estimate that up to 377,000 PCs in New Zealand running Windows XP could be vulnerable to malware attacks after 8 April 2014 and we want to make sure that Kiwis upgrade before Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP”. “For businesses, upgrading an operating system takes time. Depending on complexity, small businesses could take three to six months to upgrade, and larger businesses can take six months or more. We are really worried that some New Zealand companies are cutting it too close to the end of support date.” – Dean Edwards, Windows business group manager at Microsoft NZ.

Hackers could reverse engineer fixes made to the newer platforms and see if the exploits work on Windows XP. Therefore, Microsoft has a big challenge not only to provide customers with their latest products such as Windows 8.1, but also convince users and businesses to switch to a more up to date operating system like Windows 8 or Windows 7.

Thank you Tom’s Hardware for providing us with this information

Microsoft Confirm Windows XP Is Also Affected By Newly Discovered Office Zero-Day Flaw

Microsoft recently released an official statement confirming that Windows XP is also vulnerable to a newly discovered Zero-Day flaw. The security flaw affects users of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The programs that initiate this security flaw are Microsoft Office 2003 and Microsoft Office 2007 on any combination of the aforementioned operating systems.

“Currently, we are only aware of targeted attacks against Office 2007 users, In those attacks, Windows XP was the operating system seen in use.”

Microsoft says users of its new Office 2013 package will not be affected in any way regardless of their operating system, so you can run Office 2013 on Windows XP and still be secure. Microsoft’s statement already includes a DIY fix that users can undertake to secure their system if they are potentially affected by the zero-day flaw. An automatic Windows Update is expected to be released in the coming weeks that will fix the problem without users having to do anything at all.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft’s Windows 8 Crawls Past 9.25% Market Share In October

The latest figures from market researcher Net Applications show that Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating systems (Windows 8 and Windows 8.1) managed to surpass 9.25% market share by the end of October 2013. That 9.25% is split 7.53% Windows 8 and 1.72% Windows 8.1. The figures look reasonably good showing that Windows 8.1 has managed to stimulate some additional interest in Windows 8 as we’ve seen quite a sharp rise in Windows 8(.1) since July. Microsoft announced its consumer preview of Windows 8.1 on June 26th and since then growth in Windows 8(.1) has been quite sharp. Windows 8(.1) has also managed to capture some of the Windows XP defectors, though a lot of these have ended up going to Windows 7 as the below graph shows.

Considering Windows 8.1 is only two weeks old these results are neither spectacular nor awful, they are pretty average. Over the next month we will really be able to see whether Windows 8.1 captured the attention of consumers or not because 1.72% after only 2 weeks doesn’t really tell us all that much. Of course you could look at this more pessimistically (or realistically?) and say that Windows 8.1 has been available for consumers to download and install since June 26th, so it has only managed 1.72% in 4 and a half months, when you frame it like that it doesn’t look good.

Image #1 courtesy of Softpedia and Image #2 courtesy of ZDNet, Information provided by NetMarketShare/NetApplications

Microsoft Says Windows XP’s Infection Rate Is 6X That Of Windows 8

Microsoft really wants to encourage users to make the shift to a newer operating system, mainly Windows 8.1. To do this Microsoft is pushing the security side of things, particularly as business users are the most prominent users of Windows XP who are essentially keeping the operating system alive and well. On its TechNet blog Microsoft published figures from its own internal data about the infection and encounter rates of all their operating system. The figures show that Windows XP is about six times more likely to become infected by malware than Windows 8.

“Windows XP was built more than 12 years ago and was architected to include security technologies that were innovative at the time. For example, Windows XP SP2 was released in 2004 and introduced Data Execution Prevention. However, the threat landscape has changed quite a bit since then and technologies that were built a decade ago, like DEP, are now commonly bypassed.” Stated Microsoft.

Of course Windows XP users will find that they can reduce their infection by simply using some third party anti-virus and anti-malware protections, but these will not be able to account for vulnerabilities within the operating system itself. If you value security as a high priority then Microsoft believes the case is convincing enough for you to make the move to Windows 8.

Images courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft Will Let Windows 7 Die Quicker Than XP

WindowsITPro report that Microsoft is planning to avoid the same “problems” encountered with Windows XP with Windows 7. Those problems are essentially that Microsoft failed to get its Windows XP user-base to upgrade to a newer OS. Windows XP had been Microsoft’s longest supported OS after Microsoft continually extended the OS support life and retirement date. This meant that Windows XP ended up out-lasting its successor Windows Vista. Windows 7 on the other hand will not get extended support or an extended retirement date according to this new report. The reason is clear – Microsoft wants to push people towards Windows 8 and 8.1

Of course the interesting thing is that a lot of users upgrading from Windows XP have opted for Windows 7 instead of Windows 8. While this seems like a sensible solution to many the fact of the matter is mainstream support for Windows 7 ends January 13th 2015 and Microsoft has no intention of extending this deadline for consumers, while extended support for business users ends on January 14th 2020. So the message is clear, if you’re thinking about investing in Windows then you might want to think again with Windows 7 because even if you believe it is better than Windows 8 – it won’t be supported for very long.

“While many of us believe that Windows 7 will neatly slip into XP’s role and become the next XP—partially because so few businesses are interested in Windows 8.x—Microsoft will instead push its newer OSs and let Windows 7 die a quicker death. It believes that by “listening” to customers with Windows 8.1, it can make this happen.”

Image courtesy of Microsoft