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October 25, 2017

It’s Windows XP’s 16th birthday, yet this isn’t a cause for celebration

Should you be celebrating?

By Ellie Burns

What’s the news?

Wednesday 25th October marks 16 years since Windows XP was made generally available.

 

Are people still using XP?

Yes – despite its age, it is still one of the most widely used operating systems. It’s the fourth most popular overall, holding around 6% of the worldwide operating systems market. Organisations and public sector bodies still using XP are reluctant to upgrade their OS due to the amount of applications they have written on them. Examples include airline check-in systems or the computers used by mobile phone companies for signing up customers; it would be very costly and time-consuming for these organisations to have to rewrite their applications on a modern version of Windows.

 

Why is this an issue?

The lack of security updates and

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patches means that computers running Windows XP are vulnerable to attacks, such as the WannaCry ransomware attack earlier this year that affected organisations including the NHS, which was still running the old OS. Though Microsoft were forced to make an exception to patch XP for this, otherwise XP users have not been able to benefit from updates since April 2014, when the operating system reached its ‘end of life’ and was no longer maintained by Microsoft.

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To receive regular updates to protect computers, individuals and organisations will need to upgrade their operating systems to a newer, supported version.

 

What the experts are saying:

“It may seem surprising that even though the IT world has evolved so greatly, so many companies haven’t moved on from XP. The problem is that many organisations depend on custom software and applications that aren’t compatible with the latest versions, and upgrading can be hugely complex and costly. Some might not even have the time or technical know-how in order to do so,” explains Mat Clothier, CEO, CTO and Founder of Cloudhouse.

“While on the surface it may appear easier, cheaper and less time-consuming to stick with the old rather than bring in the new, there is now a middle ground – container compatibility software that can package up old applications and bring them across to newer, supported systems. This technology enables organisations to benefit from greater security, performance and all-round peace of mind without the constraint of complete rewrites.”

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