AVAST: Cutting off Windows XP support is a "big mistake"

Even as Microsoft tries to get Windows XP owners to upgrade before the product becomes end-of-life on April 8th, the third party anti-virus company AVAST is calling the decision to stop all XP patches and updates a "big mistake".

In a blog post, AVAST claims that the elimination of patches for XP "will create severe security issues". It says that 23.6 percent of its 211 million customers are still using XP on their PCs and seemed to suggest that many of them could not afford to upgrade to a more recent version of Windows. AVAST stated, "Abandoning Windows XP is a big mistake, especially since Microsoft has not been very successful in transitioning XP users to newer systems."

The company also claims that the security problems connected to the end of support for XP will extend beyond just the computers that have the OS installed on their hard drives. The blog says:

Tens of millions of PCs running XP connected to the Internet, unpatched and without security updates, are just waiting to be exploited. The vulnerable OS will be an easy target for hackers and be seen as a gateway to infect other non-XP operating systems.

According to the company, the threat is even worse for XP owners who use Internet Explorer 8, which AVAST says lacks "a number of security improvements available in its later versions" that are not supported by XP. Both Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox will continue to support XP for at least one more year.

AVAST has announced it will offer XP support for at least three years with its anti-virus products. As we have previously reported, many other third party software companies also plan to support XP well beyond April 8th.

Source: AVAST | Image via AVAST

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Microsoft has not been very successful in transitioning XP users to newer systems

oh f*ck off. Microsoft has been successful in BOTH supporting XP and transitioning large numbers of users to Windows 7. Eat it, Avast.

How? It took them ages to deliver Vista. The public did not like it and stayed with XP. Too many computers were still shipping XP instead of Vista. This is why we ended up in this current situation.

But Windows 7 has been out for years and they should be moving off XP now.

How? Consumer usage of Windows 7 is higher than XP. I think Windows 7's usage is higher than XP overall anyway. Transitioning large numbers of users is not the issue, it has already been done.

DKAngel said,
didnt apple just kill off support for the ipad 2 which is only 3 years old?

Not to my knowledge. My iPad 2 received the iOS 7.1 update.

"especially since Microsoft has not been very successful in transitioning XP users to newer systems."

You nailed it!

How many people were clamoring that Windows 2.0 should still be supported in 2001? Same amount of time has passed.

agree with avast on this one, xp its still widespread they can ditch it once it reach less than 5%, expecting people to move on with windows 8 when there are a lot compatibilities issues and the pc its still functional its just not worth it.

in my case in new pc i deploy a new OS, but on older functional pc they stay with XP

Questions. How long has XP been around? How many versions ago does Apple support of OSX and iOS? Why isnt more outcry heard from Google's OEMs never support Android updates on their phones?

Or in other words: "Windows XP users need to use something like AVAST"

People who still complain about the ending support should read Charles Darwin. Who can't adopt has to die ;)

I really hope that we will see a major malware wave starting in April. Lazy corporations need to learn it the hard way.

What about people who can't afford new computers?
Mine can easily run windows 8 but there was a time when I was on a computer that shipped windows XP and I used it for long years till it died.

of course it is for avast. Windows XP is the only supported windows without security built-in, UAC or built-in anti virus (Windows Defender or Security essential)

DaveBG said,
Windows Defender or Security essential are jokes. You will be better off without them.

They are not jokes, After windows XP, I have been only and exclusively using them, never got a single virus, malware or anything else. they are lightweight, efficient. antivirus companies for years were taking advantage of the security problems and were selling their bloated software as antivirus. norton for example I think is the biggest virus itself. it has all the attributes, slow down your system, gives pop up warning all the time even when there is no virus on your system and take over your hard drive and takes massive resources.

for one thing you are right about norton , however if you check the detection rates Windows Defender or Security essential are at the bottom of every graph. by far.
I do not use AV at all for the reasons you mentioned and because i work in computer security for many years but trust me you are not safe with Windows Defender or Security essential

DaveBG said,
for one thing you are right about norton , however if you check the detection rates Windows Defender or Security essential are at the bottom of every graph. by far.
I do not use AV at all for the reasons you mentioned and because i work in computer security for many years but trust me you are not safe with Windows Defender or Security essential

I find this hard to believe, after you said that a person would be better off without them. ANY A/V software is better than none at all.

Kaze23 said,

I find this hard to believe, after you said that a person would be better off without them. ANY A/V software is better than none at all.


The best way to protect windows is to Keep UAC on (I even turned off mine). have latest update and investigate the softwares intending to install on computer extra carefully (things like source, digital signature, footprints ...)
for extra caution you can always rely on watching startup services and processes.
no A/V software is required. on network its another story. a good network intrusion detection software does the job.

Been Running Avast since 2006 here on every PC, Currently still use it on Every PC, even the Windows 8.1 for following reasons: One Excellent ratings by AV Test organizations, briefly did try Windows Defender and MSE before--a little on last XP laptop soon going to Linux on that one as I can't afford to upgrade to a newer one on a fixed income... Rest of the Systems will continue running Vista, Windows 7 home Premium and Windows 8.1 64bit Pro with Avast Free Installed for protection. Over the years Avast has provided excellent protection, If I had the money i'd upgrade laptop to a Brand new Microsoft Surface tablet.

Laptop is a 2005 Edition Toshia A105-S2101, very old, but still runs currently. So will continue using it for little things it's capable of doing.

runningnak3d said,
Cutting off support isn't the mistake. Releasing Windows 8 was the mistake...

You deciding to post this drivel was the mistake. Windows 8.x is superior to its predecessors (including Windows 7). Slap a free Start menu like Classic Shell on Windows 8 and maybe you kids will quit crying about it.

thats what i did, but seriously it took me almost 2 hours to figure out what to do with a new windows 8.1 pc

metro its good for tablets but just not for desktop

Kaze23 said,

You deciding to post this drivel was the mistake. Windows 8.x is superior to its predecessors (including Windows 7). Slap a free Start menu like Classic Shell on Windows 8 and maybe you kids will quit crying about it.

One of these days, probably about the time that MS does, you will realize what a #FAIL that Win8 is.

runningnak3d said,

One of these days, probably about the time that MS does, you will realize what a #FAIL that Win8 is.

And yet I use Windows 8.1 with absolutely no problem. Maybe you're the "#FAIL". Why are you even using a hashtag on a forum? This isn't Twitter.

Microsoft can support windows XP for a 100 more years and it won't take much market share from windows 7 or 8. XP is dying on its own as people buy new computers. It is just more work for Microsoft to support so many operating systems. XP poses no threat to windows 7 or 8. No one is going to install windows XP on a new computer unless it is a pirated copy of windows XP which means they are not willing to buy windows 7 or 8 anyway.
All microsoft does by cutting off support for windows XP is force people running older computers and legitimate copies of windows to switch to other operating systems, get addicted to them and continue using them when they eventually buy new computers.
Expect the millions of computers that will continue running XP after support ends to get exploited to attack other computers. Remember when Microsoft let illegal copies of windows XP upgrade to sp2 to protect legitimate users?
There are always technical difficulties. For example, it is very likely that Windows XP doesn't have the requirements (library functions) to run new Internet Explorer versions.
Having said all that, I believe this is a marketing gimmick by Avast. "Microsoft will not support you anymore but we will so install Avast!"

Edited by Hussam Al-tayeb, Mar 19 2014, 5:53pm :

Hussam Al-tayeb said,
All microsoft does by cutting off support for windows XP is force people running older computers and legitimate copies of windows to switch to other operating systems, get addicted to them and continue using them when they eventually buy new computers.
Of course, all those XP users at home who're basically clueless about computers are going to run right out and switch to Linux. /s

You are absolutely right.
We will just end up with millions of unprotected windows installations that are waiting for the computer to die and be replaced...

Hussam Al-tayeb said,
We will just end up with millions of unprotected windows installations that are waiting for the computer to die and be replaced...
Many of them already are unprotected. I've simply lost count of how many malware-infested PCs I've come across, with Windows Updates turned off, no AV or AV never updated and so on.

Microsoft could support XP for 100 more years and there would still be people complaining that it wasn't long enough.

Nothing lasts forever.

Come on people, it's not the end of the world. Whoever still uses XP, clearly doesn't care about any new games, apps or whatever the next big thing is. They just want to continue using what they've been using. Just like the old vehicles of the 60s and 70s still run in Cuba, so will these computers. Do you think any of these (consumers at least), are calling Microsoft for a problem? No, they call some techy friend (like us) and nicely bother us to help them out. And guess what, we will continue helping them out, so I don't worry about the consumers. Enterprises on the other hand, those greedy bastards didn't want to upgrade and will now pay hefty concessions just keep being greedy. And that's fine with me, as long as they don't try to recuperate it from me.

True, but at least this hype has some basis in reality.

If I found a security flaw in Windows XP, and weren't a decent human being, I would certainly sit on it, even for years, until Microsoft drops XP support.

Then my flaw isn't going to get patched away, ever, and I can either exploit it myself, or sell it to an even worse person for considerably higher profit.

With so many computers still running XP, many in mission-critical applications, the worlds criminal organizations will have a field day.

There should be a unprecedented lawsuit brought against Microsoft regarding Windows XP. When a company sells a product to a consumer, the consumer has a reasonable right to expect a certain level of quality from that product. With Windows XP, that level of quality doesn't exist, unless Microsoft sends updates to secure the OS....despite what the product EULA's say.

Now, I am not expecting or hoping that Microsoft will end up paying millions and millions to cover support for XP, but at least mitigation the situation and offer remedies such as paid XP support for as long as the product is being used by consumers.

THAT, or....

Allow XP updates be offered by a third party company and let THEM make money of Windows XP.

VictorWho said,
There should be a unprecedented lawsuit brought against Microsoft regarding Windows XP. When a company sells a product to a consumer, the consumer has a reasonable right to expect a certain level of quality from that product. With Windows XP, that level of quality doesn't exist, unless Microsoft sends updates to secure the OS....despite what the product EULA's say.

Now, I am not expecting or hoping that Microsoft will end up paying millions and millions to cover support for XP, but at least mitigation the situation and offer remedies such as paid XP support for as long as the product is being used by consumers.

THAT, or....

Allow XP updates be offered by a third party company and let THEM make money of Windows XP.

You're joking, right?

see this quote:

Xabier Granja said,
Besides your being proved wrong about the UEFI requirement, what sense does it make for you to blame MS for innovating anyway? They don't have a responsibility to offer XP users an upgrade path, they supported them for 13 years. That's the best ~$100 ever spent for software, enough already. If they want a secure OS let those people upgrade to win7/8 like the rest of the world has largely done already.

:rofl: Oh you've outdone yourself this time even by your own standards. Thanks for that. Really made me laugh hard and I needed it. :laugh:

"Microsoft recently announced that technical support will no longer be available for Windows XP as of April 8, 2014"

They announced this YEARS ago, Avast... This is not a recent development.

AVAST is well aware that XP was their bread and butter and WIN7/WIN8 are much more solid and have decent firewall and antivirus built in. They stand to loose a huge chunk of business with the end of XP.

some people just can't afford to purchase new computers OS and hardware.

There needs to be choices for people that just don't care or don't need to upgrade to the newest machines and OS. I have been doing computer repair for 20 years. The older crowd of people have no reason to upgrade to windows 8 or 7 for that matter. If they have a computer that works and all the do is look online and do email they should not be forced to buy new machines. Avast is just a free AV solution is why these same people that don't upgrade are using it. Because it is free.

I'm sure that a majority of people posting are using computers that were bought by their parents and have no real idea about what things cost and the usefulness of something that just works.

AOXOMOXOA said,
some people just can't afford to purchase new computers OS and hardware.
If you still run XP your hardware is at least 5-6 years old and probably older. You could have been aware of support for XP ending for about as long as you have your hardware. Affordable upgrades have been offered for both 7 and 8. There really is no excuse here.

AOXOMOXOA said,
some people just can't afford to purchase new computers OS and hardware.

I'm sure that a majority of people posting are using computers that were bought by their parents and have no real idea about what things cost and the usefulness of something that just works.

A cardboard box "just works" for storing critical personal documents, too, but I still invested in a fireproof lockbox for that stuff. The same kind of reasoning applies here. If you're going to do important work (including personal finance and stuff) and store important personal information on a computer, you need to make sure that system is secure. For anything sensitive or irreplaceable, "just works" is not good enough, at least not for me. There's no way I'm keeping private, personal information, documents, pictures on a system running a 13 year old OS that wasn't originally designed with security in mind.

Sometimes "just works" simply isn't good enough.

And the last computer my mother bought for me was my high school graduation present back in 1991, thank you very much.

DConnell said,

A cardboard box "just works" for storing critical personal documents, too, but I still invested in a fireproof lockbox for that stuff. The same kind of reasoning applies here. If you're going to do important work (including personal finance and stuff) and store important personal information on a computer, you need to make sure that system is secure. For anything sensitive or irreplaceable, "just works" is not good enough, at least not for me. There's no way I'm keeping private, personal information, documents, pictures on a system running a 13 year old OS that wasn't originally designed with security in mind.

^

warwagon said,
What about if a fresh install, behind a router, on a NAT router and never on the internet running just one special application?

Why would the user of said system care about whether its supported then? Its already not receiving updates if its never on the internet. Irrelevant.

i have never really considered avast an expert at anything but this is just stupidness. obviously avast is right because living in the 1990's is always better......

If microsoft release a free version of windows with built in bing and other such services then people who can't afford to upgrade go install that. Oh wait windows 8 requires a motherboard with EFI support so that isn't going to work. Microsoft shot themselves in the foot with EFI, people have already bypassed it and it just means that many users can't upgrade to windows 8 now.

uhhh... no it doesn't?

UEFI merely enables things like secure boot, seamless boot etc.

Windows 8 will happily install and work in legacy BIOS mode or on computers that don't UEFI. Hell, my week old H87 based PC runs in legacy mode.

Besides your being proved wrong about the UEFI requirement, what sense does it make for you to blame MS for innovating anyway? They don't have a responsibility to offer XP users an upgrade path, they supported them for 13 years. That's the best ~$100 ever spent for software, enough already. If they want a secure OS let those people upgrade to win7/8 like the rest of the world has largely done already.

Another ignorant post. EFI wasn't invented by Microsoft and even Apple has been using it since 2006. People aren't rejecting EFI. Heck, the average computer user still stuck on XP even knowing what (U)EFI is? Now that's a joke!

Wow, way to completely misread my post. I never claimed MS invented EFI, all I said was there's nothing wrong with MS innovating in newer operating systems and requiring more secure frameworks like EFI. I never said anybody's rejecting EFI. Read properly, sir.

Xabier Granja said,
Wow, way to completely misread my post. ... Read properly, sir.
I'll toss both these lines right back at ya. My reply was directed at torrentthief's ignorant comments and I even pressed Reply on his post, not yours. Looks like at least 3 people understood this.

How many more times.
If you extend it even more, then people will continue to use it more.
If you extend it again, then they will carry on using it even further, and will STILL complain when it comes to upgrade time.
Quite honestly, if you're using XP and you're on the internet past deadline day, then more fool you. It's not as if you've not had any warning, and maybe picking up a nasty will actually make you do something about it.

AVAST is giving their opinion on how Microsoft should run their business? Guess what, AVAST, they don't care and aren't interested in your galactically stupid ideas.

I wonder what kind of customers Avast has if 23% of their userbase is still on XP. Perhaps Avast is the one making some big mistakes.

warwagon said,
They have customers have doesn't know anything about computers, other than what they have works just fine.

What I was hinting at is that their userbase might be aging despite having good products.

it's a business decision. MS isnt forcing anyone to use XP these days. the OS is 13yrs old. Time to move on people. At some point, all companies have to drop support for their products.

Sounds to me like Avast is worried about losing business, or their customers blaming them for XP's faults.

The problem for Microsoft is that XP is still very useful for most applications. Kiosks which only one run program, really don't need a modern day UI for instance. Many offices still use XP because it just works. Most people/places that are using XP are using it because there is no real advantage in usability for them compared to 7 or 8. Most of these places will still use XP regardless if it is still supported or not. Look at Windows 98 / 2000 (not ME) all those were examples of OS's that were used way past their prime or support date, but eventually people still upgraded. In fact I remember back around 2001/2002 my public school brought in all new HP computers which were supposed to run XP, but they loaded Windows 98 on them. They were running 98 until about 2005 or so. Does that make sense?

wv@gt said,
Kiosks which only one run program, really don't need a modern day UI for instance.
The kiosk/POS versions of XP will be supported for years to come.

"the third party anti-virus company AVAST is calling the decision to stop all XP patches and updates a "big mistake"."

Translation: Microsoft is ruining our revenue stream.

Leopard Seal said,
Translation: Microsoft is ruining our revenue stream.
They'll probably sell lots more licenses to panicked users (many of whom got panicked because of the company itself).

Romero said,
They'll probably sell lots more licenses to panicked users (many of whom got panicked because of the company itself).

I'd like to see numbers of how many use the free version vs the paid version ... or even how many people just download the "paid" version from the shady side of the internet.

it's a painful reality for microsoft that a 13 yo product is much more useful and productive for most users than a 1.5 yo fad-induced product.

how low can you go, microsoft? wait and see.

Albert said,
it's a painful reality for microsoft that a 13 yo product is much more useful and productive for most users than a 1.5 yo fad-induced product.

how low can you go, microsoft? wait and see.

That's a good one, even if it is at least half true! ;)

Albert said,
it's a painful reality for microsoft that a 13 yo product is much more useful and productive for most users than a 1.5 yo fad-induced product.

how low can you go, microsoft? wait and see.

What's even more painful is the total ignoring of Windows 7. It's not as if we shouldn't be used to "Good, Bad, Good, Bad" release cycle from MS (95, Me, XP, Vista, 7, 8.1)

Skip 8(.1)... but don't act like XP is better than 7, because it's not. It's less secure and most definitely legacy.

How many other products get support for over a decade? Especially computer-related products. People should be glad they got this long a life from the system, really.

I know it can be expensive to upgrade, and this isn't the best economy, but a 13 year lifespan for any product is the exception, not the norm. Microsoft can't support everything they make forever.

It's unfortunate for the people who can't afford to upgrade, and there are legitimate cases of that, but no matter when MS cuts XP off there are going to be people left in the cold.

Sure Avast, cutting off XP support is supposedly a "big mistake", but what about your eyes lighting up when you see the opportunity to sell more licenses?

Kaze23 said,

*rolleyes* Yes, Avast is a terrible product...

it used to be good (the free version, since it's the only one i ever use it) but now days not so much; in fact i do have it installed in a VM with Windows XP for debuging and troubleshooting some very specific malware scenarios and many times it fails to detect them, not to mention the overly aggressive banners that are really annoying.

Shiranui said,
What is the current best free antivirus in your opinion?

honestly? I'm using Windows Defender (in my Windows 8.1 box) and Common Sense (TM); if i'm need to use some random usb pendrive that *might* have some threats then i use the SHIFT (disables autorun) and scan with Windows Defender or MBAM (also enabling hidden files and manually seeing if there's any hidden executable helps alot).

Point is, i don't have any malware in my box (and i do scan with several solutions from several vendors regularly because i do tests for malware) because i:
- use an account with no administrator privileges (i do have an local administrator account just for those administrative task; it's my Windows sudo :D).
- need to access some dubious site i use my sandboxed VM for that and revert the snapshot once done.
- use common sense when dealing with unknown media (cd's, pendrives, etc.), with unknown mails, websites, etc; it helps to have a modern OS as well, since the gaps are more tighten.
- have software up-to-date, mitigating the array of attack (also i don't install every crap i see from interwebs; i use my VM for that :D)

i don't have an infection for years, but i do see almost everyday Windows and Macs boxes riddled with malware, some light some very severe (and i can tell from the looks of it how careless the user was).

Using a 13 yo and not very secure OS by today's standard is an even bigger mistake AVAST.

Windows XP needs to go. It served its purpose but it's too old now. Using anything older than Vista = asking for problems

We have a little under a hundred systems to update. Just slow going since we are down 2 people and major IT restructuring changes.

At least people like you are achieving an upgrade. Not like the companies that stuck their fingers in their ears since Vista launched pretending support lasts forever. And now that its ending cry "We didn't have enough time to upgrade!"

techbeck said,
There are some systems that we cannot upgrade, at least not for a while. Anything we can update, we are.

What's going to happen to the un-upgradeable systems?

Ice_Blue said,
What's going to happen to the un-upgradeable systems?

They will eventually get upgraded. They currently use inhouse software and the person who created it no longer works for us. So we have to find someone to make it work on Win7 or above, or create a new program.

techbeck said,

They will eventually get upgraded. They currently use inhouse software and the person who created it no longer works for us. So we have to find someone to make it work on Win7 or above, or create a new program.

windows 7 with xp mode?

Keeping a 13 year old OS alive would be a mistake. XP wasn't built with constant connection and security in mind.

7 should be just as stable, but a lot more secure. (I kinda like 8.1, with some minor caveats but 7 is more in line with XP... and what more people will be comfortable with).

wernercd said,
Keeping a 13 year old OS alive would be a mistake. XP wasn't built with constant connection and security in mind.

7 should be just as stable, but a lot more secure. (I kinda like 8.1, with some minor caveats but 7 is more in line with XP... and what more people will be comfortable with).

Nor was newer software built for XP. Just kill it already!

briangw said,
Nor was newer software built for XP. Just kill it already!

Apple doesn't support past OS's, mobile or desktop...
Does blackberry support an OS half that old?
Palm? Oh wait, they dead...
Android? Hasn't been around that long but don't expect that level of support, since I doubt they "support" anything before 4.0... and that's ~3 years old?
Linux support for something that old? I know there are some good LTS distro's, but 13 years?

Knock MS for many things... but THE issue is they supported XP for way too long as it is. No one else supports stuff for that long for a reason.

News flash, old stuff loses support after a set time, its nothing new and it will continue. People still using xp either have a very specific need (large business with specific apps, but virtualization covers most of this) and people who just want to squeeze the life out of their kit. Hell new hardware has no xp support (drivers) so sooner or later they have to upgrade anyway with or without ms saying so

duddit2 said,
Hell new hardware has no xp support (drivers) so sooner or later they have to upgrade anyway with or without ms saying so
hell, most newer hardware won't even let you install XP (shoots up errors during install)

Squeezing more life out of their kit is the most likely case, even in enterprises; merely since 2005, what has been THE mantra in corporate world?

"Do more with less."

Fewer people, fewer desktops, more telework, BYOD, etc. All of this started to take off in 2005 (unrelated to, but simultaneously with, the RTM/RTW of Windows XP's Service Pack 2).

Even though quite a few people still use xp, I feel that they really do need to move on to windows 7/8. MS has supported this OS for long enough.

aviator189 said,
Even though quite a few people still use xp, I feel that they really do need to move on to windows 7/8. MS has supported this OS for long enough.

+1

supporting Windows XP two more years wouldn't significantly reduce Windows XP's market share at this point.

better stop supporting it right now, and let enterprises customers pay the price to get extended support until 2017 if needed. When they see how expensive the support contract is, they will just move their migration plans faster.

Exactly what I came to say, I think AVAST is more worried that people will upgrade and not need their product any more ;) I mean a "big" mistake? How old is XP now? pfft.

I was in Dublin Airport last week and every single one of the check-in desks are run off XP (unless they're loyal to the XP screensaver on a newer OS).

highonsnow said,
I was in Dublin Airport last week and every single one of the check-in desks are run off XP (unless they're loyal to the XP screensaver on a newer OS).

XP is still supported until 2017 for large enterprise customers willing to pay an extended support contract.

that includes all the embedded systems still relying on XP.

Windows XP embedded for Point of Sales is even supported until 2019, without having to pay for a support contract.

So yes, the world still rely on XP. But it won't collapse after April 8th.

especially when you know that many enterprises aren't even applying security updates that are available (which is fine on an isolated network), and they still manage to do their job despite that.

At a CRAZY rate... I'm working for a large enterprise and I saw what MS is charging for the extended support... It's f*cking crazy...