Microsoft ends support for Windows XP users

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Internet News


Microsoft has today officially ended support for its Windows XP operating system.

The move, announced in a nostalgia-ridden press release last month, commenting "12 years later, times and technology have evolved". It serves as a death knell for the popular product; users will no longer receive security updates or bug fixes and are therefore urged to upgrade. Support is also ending for Office 2003.

Despite several new versions of Windows being released in the meantime, many businesses and organisations still use XP.

One of these is the UK government, which has reportedly signed a £5.5m deal with Microsoft to guarantee continued support and updates for the operating system in public sector organisations, lasting until April 2015. This includes the NHS, where an estimated 85 per cent of PCs still run XP.

Time to switch to Windows 8.1

According to Statcounter Global Stats, the Windows OS market share for UK desktops in March 2014 stands at:

Operating System Year of release UK market share (%)
Windows XP 2001 8.4
Windows Vista 2007 6.64
Windows 7 2009 52.2
Windows 8 2012 8.23
Windows 8.1 2013 7.46

Globally, XP's market share is estimated at around 20-30 per cent.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's advice for those still running XP was to upgrade their device rather than simply upgrade their OS, as many older computers will not support the new software:

"And what if you do need, or know someone who needs, to switch before April 8? Well, Windows 8.1 is the perfectly logical step forward - with a wide array of Windows devices on sale at your local retailers. Not only do these modern devices offer the full power of Windows 8.1 but they also include great services such as OneDrive, and new and improved tools and apps for when you're on the go."

The upgrade costs for businesses and large organisations could therefore be considerable.

Adrian Mursec, head of development at theEword, commented: "This change has been a long time coming, and the majority of UK Windows users have adopted newer operating systems. However, unfortunately this change could have the biggest impact on individuals who aren't very tech-savvy, and large organisations that will struggle to buy several thousand new computers."