Vulnerability Management

Pop-ups to signal the coming end of Windows XP support

For Windows XP users who have yet to circle April 8 on their calendars in red pen, Microsoft is creating a reminder of the importance of the day through pop-ups.

Serving as a notice that the end of support is near for users of the 12-year-old operating system, this Saturday the computing giant will begin launching pop-up notifications to announce that it will no longer be supplying patches and security fixes for the OS.

The company is hoping that the monthly reminders, which will continue to show up on users' monitors on the 8th of every month, unless they select the “do not show this message again” option, will usher them to upgrade to more modern operating systems such as Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1. The prompts will also feature a link to Microsoft's XP end of support site.

According to a recent blog post by Brandon LeBlanc, senior marketing communications manager at Microsoft, the company announced a free transfer tool that assists users in copying files and specific settings from their Windows XP machines to new computers running one of the updated operating systems.

The software giant partnered with Laplink to create the tool, called PCmover Express, which will be available for download as early as this week in English, and other languages later in the month.

There has been much anticipation regarding the end of Microsoft's support for Windows XP. According to Microsoft's “Security Intelligence Report Volume 15,” XP users are growing increasingly vulnerable as the April 8 cut-off date approaches.

“During the first half of 2013, currently supported versions of Windows desktop operating systems (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8) all had roughly similar malware encounter rates – between 12 and 20 percent,” Tim Rains, director of Microsoft Trustworthy Computer wrote in a blog post. “But Windows XP systems had an infection rate that was six times higher than Windows 8.”

Once Microsoft ended support for Windows XP Service Pack 2 on July 10, 2010, Rains indicated that the malware infection rate increased to 66 percent higher than Windows XP Service Pack 3 – the version that will no longer be supported beginning next month.

According to data from NetApplications, the worldwide usage share for Windows XP is currently just above 29 percent.

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