Microsoft Security Essentials 4.5 may also nag Windows XP users

While Microsoft plans to keep supporting its free Security Essentials program with new signatures for Windows XP users until July 2015, the company may be planning to inform XP owners that support for the OS itself is ending soon.

ZDNet reports that Windows XP users who have downloaded and installed the pre-release version of Microsoft Securuty Essentials 4.5 have seen the following message while running the program:

Support for this operating system is ending. When this occurs Microsoft Security Essentials Prerelease will no longer be supported and your PC might be unprotected.

While the pre-release version of 4.5 officially does not support Windows XP, a spokesperson for Microsoft did tell ZDNet that "Windows XP customers already running Microsoft Security Essentials will receive version 4.5 when it ships." That could mean those users will also receive similar messages when support for Windows XP ends on April 8th. Neowin has contacted Microsoft to get more information on this matter.

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows XP owners will soon see a message on their desktop informing them of the support shut down date. It will also release a free transfer application to move files and settings from an XP machine to a PC with a more recent version of Windows.

Source: ZDNet | Image via ZDNet

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The best way to win over your users is not to nag them, help them out somehow, tell them what the benefits are and provide a simple upgrade path. Will Windows 8 even migrate an XP installation?

That's what they are doing. See the screenshot of MSE. Advice says to click the link that says:

"End-of-support guidance for operating systems".

I checked out that site, and it looks alright, but until they released the PC Mover Express tool, users didn't really have many options for migrating an XP install. This should have been in place since the launch of Windows 7 & 8, maybe they would have gotten more to upgrade. Anyway, good luck to them and their users.

In other news Microsoft have promised to install a new feature in the aged windows XP for all users after April 8 this new feature is an user deletion function once installed it self activates on first reboot it will down load you to your HDD and delete you from existence thereby stopping the use of Windows XP once and for all

Edited by Athlonite, Mar 6 2014, 4:46am :

XP users should be left alone, if it's still working for them then why should anyone be bothered by it? as long as they have a decent antivirus they will be fine.

It almost seems as if some of you actually lose sleep over this.

I disagree, because of the nature of Antiviruses being Definition based (Some do have heuristics), Zero days could come out without the AV Being updated. I don't know how you can think running an AV will be good enough to protected against the rain of fire of Exploits that will fall upon XP. It's because of this, I think anyone still running XP needs to do 3 things.

1) Install Sandboxie
2) Install Microsoft EMT
3) Run as a standard User.

Order_66 said,
XP users should be left alone, if it's still working for them then why should anyone be bothered by it? as long as they have a decent antivirus they will be fine.

It almost seems as if some of you actually lose sleep over this.

False. An antivirus isn't going to keep them protected from u patched flaws in the OS. An anti virus shouldn't be used as a first line of defense.

warwagon said,
I disagree, because of the nature of Antiviruses being Definition based (Some do have heuristics), Zero days could come out without the AV Being updated. I don't know how you can think running an AV will be good enough to protected against the rain of fire of Exploits that will fall upon XP. It's because of this, I think anyone still running XP needs to do 3 things.

1) Install Sandboxie
2) Install Microsoft EMT
3) Run as a standard User.

Yes, running as a standard user is a definite step in the right direction, maybe emt and sandboxie are a bit extreme, if the person isn't going to upgrade to 7 I doubt they will want to go thru the trouble of installing and learning new software beyond a standard antivirus.
Sure there will be a giant leap in exploits but I doubt grandma down the road using XP is going to pay dearly for checking her email and visiting the bing site for the latest news every morning.
I am just speculating that most xp users are just casual users who don't get into much of anything online other than basic tasks, most gamers avoid it because many of the newer titles require vista or newer, techies left it behind years ago, some businesses cling to it due to cost of upgrading and sometimes to continue running legacy software etc etc

I just think the whole upgrade thing is being blown out of proportion, its as if you're gonna die if you don't at least upgrade to vista or 7 or downgrade to 8.

Order_66 said,

I just think the whole upgrade thing is being blown out of proportion, its as if you're gonna die if you don't at least upgrade to vista or 7 or downgrade to 8.

This.

It's not like the operating system I am currently using (Windows 8.1) is completely patched. There are vulnerabilities in it that have yet to be discovered, but it is running just fine.

Order_66 said,

Yes, running as a standard user is a definite step in the right direction, maybe emt and sandboxie are a bit extreme, if the person isn't going to upgrade to 7 I doubt they will want to go thru the trouble of installing and learning new software beyond a standard antivirus.
Sure there will be a giant leap in exploits but I doubt grandma down the road using XP is going to pay dearly for checking her email and visiting the bing site for the latest news every morning.
I am just speculating that most xp users are just casual users who don't get into much of anything online other than basic tasks, most gamers avoid it because many of the newer titles require vista or newer, techies left it behind years ago, some businesses cling to it due to cost of upgrading and sometimes to continue running legacy software etc etc

I just think the whole upgrade thing is being blown out of proportion, its as if you're gonna die if you don't at least upgrade to vista or 7 or downgrade to 8.

Actually EMT is an easy install and "just works"

Ian William said,

It's not like the operating system I am currently using (Windows 8.1) is completely patched. There are vulnerabilities in it that have yet to be discovered, but it is running just fine.

The big difference is that those vulnerabilities will NEVER be patched on XP. Anyone planning an attack will wait until after April 8th to attack... because it's guaranteed there will be no response. There will be zero day vulnerabilities that will never be patched.

On XP today, or Vista, 7, 8... those vulnerabilities will be patched. There is a limited window to exploit them, and not many active simultaneously.

It's very likely that there will be a flood of malware exploiting zero day vulnerabilities after April 8th... a flood of vulnerabilities discovered in the last year, and saved for after XP becomes unsupported. That would be the smart thing to do (for malware writers).

And be careful, I'm sure more than a few of the saved vulnerabilities will probably work on later versions.

Order_66 said,
XP users should be left alone, if it's still working for them then why should anyone be bothered by it? as long as they have a decent antivirus they will be fine.

It almost seems as if some of you actually lose sleep over this.

Put the money where your moth is ... literally.

Would you in a straight face log into your bank account, do your taxes, go to your Charles Schwab on a computer with XP this time next year even with AV?

If you are semi computer literate you would be crazy or stupid. AV is a scanner the updates prevent the malware from loading on unless you manually install it.

But most people are not literate or know what a buffer overflow, stack overflow, or what happens when you insert executable code at the end of a data structure. XP is stupid and will execute as it does not even know the difference between data and executable code. DEP tries to protect services from this exploit a little more in XP Sp 2 but not all of XP can do this.

Later versions of Windows and cpus support the NX bit to make it read only etc. That is very technical but one out of hundreds of ways to infect an XP system.

These users do not know and yes will lose their life savings. Yes their machines will be bots to attack yours and your router as well. Yes they will hurt the performance of hte internet when you have +10 million strong bot nets doing DDOS and lord knows what all at the same time!

Just got word today that after April 8th, Windows XP won't be allow on our network under any circumstances at work. No VMs, no RDPs, nothing. Users will need to be upgraded to Windows 7 or Windows 8 by that time. At least some are taking this threat seriously.

Glad I'll no longer have to deal with this OS in a professional setting anymore.

Doing some contract work for the State Government and this morning I heard the same thing - no XP machine will be allowed on their network after this month.

We have been rolling out Windows 7 here at Verizon for the last 3 months. XP was a nice OS but its time to let go. So annoying to work that OS right now... Hopefully the fiber support centers will stop supporting customers who continue to use it all together.

Dot Matrix said,
Just got word today that after April 8th, Windows XP won't be allow on our network under any circumstances at work. No VMs, no RDPs, nothing. Users will need to be upgraded to Windows 7 or Windows 8 by that time. At least some are taking this threat seriously.

Glad I'll no longer have to deal with this OS in a professional setting anymore.

No Windows Vista, Dot?

I am two fence on this one.

On one side, people with XP should just move on. I could understand MS point of view on security support. Create a partition and install window 7 or something, slowly start migrating all the application to the new OS.

On another side, MS should keep just IE8 secure, I am sure those with XP would have some kind of AV installed.

ok you have AV but exploits are discovered on a monthly basis at least...it is not enough to have a powerful AV... you would also need a patched OS... of course, even the most paranoid and careful of us could get one or two infections once in a while... but still the incidence would be much lower.

Considering it is probably the best free security software available at the moment, I'd say you're wrong. No security software is perfect. Some will fail where others do superb at. MSE tends to do a great job overall and we even use it at work when a customer doesn't want to buy paid antivirus software. I use it on my personal computers. If I have an infection then it has yet to rear its ugly head in the entire time MSE has been available since that is when I started using it.

Sometimes I wish neowin had a dislike button.

Grinch said,

Sometimes I wish neowin had a dislike button.

Me too, I would dislike this post. MSE is NOT the best free security software available at the moment. It's better than not having any protection, but it's FAR from the best free. Personally I think Avast is MUCH MUCH better.

exotoxic said,
People using MSE are already unprotected.

using an ANY antivirus and thinking you are protected is like wearing only suncream and swimming trunks in open space and thinking you are protected

warwagon said,

Me too, I would dislike this post. MSE is NOT the best free security software available at the moment. It's better than not having any protection, but it's FAR from the best free. Personally I think Avast is MUCH MUCH better.

Does Avast ever nag you about updates or periodic scans? What I like about MSE is never even noticing it exists.

Andre S. said,
Does Avast ever nag you about updates or periodic scans? What I like about MSE is never even noticing it exists.

That much is true. Although it is possible to go into the settings and turn the popup box seconds down to 0 which turns them off. Although nags aside I would judge them both on their protecting ability.

Reading the results of the av-test.org tests makes it seems that they have it out again MSE in terms of protection. By no means is MSE the best but a .5 out of 6?

c.grz said,
Reading the results of the av-test.org tests makes it seems that they have it out again MSE in terms of protection. By no means is MSE the best but a .5 out of 6?

This... I've gotten shady stuff on my system before. And Windows Defender gets em all.

It even knows how to distinguish a genuine cracked steamapi.dll from actual malware.
Not sure what they've been testing. It's not the best AV out there and there's plenty of weird/buggy behavior. But it is far from the worst either.

Grinch said,
Considering it is probably the best free security software available at the moment, I'd say you're wrong. No security software is perfect. Some will fail where others do superb at. MSE tends to do a great job overall and we even use it at work when a customer doesn't want to buy paid antivirus software. I use it on my personal computers. If I have an infection then it has yet to rear its ugly head in the entire time MSE has been available since that is when I started using it.

Sometimes I wish neowin had a dislike button.

Grinch, MSE was quote good, years ago. In the past 8 months or so it is about as useful as no AV protection at all. Look at AV-Test results at this link: http://www.av-test.org/en/test...user/windows-7/julaug-2013/

MSE has only ever detected a couple of things for me, some kind of "loader" and another thing called Kpico or something like that

/s

Grinch said,
Considering it is probably the best free security software available at the moment, I'd say you're wrong. No security software is perfect. Some will fail where others do superb at. MSE tends to do a great job overall and we even use it at work when a customer doesn't want to buy paid antivirus software. I use it on my personal computers. If I have an infection then it has yet to rear its ugly head in the entire time MSE has been available since that is when I started using it.

Sometimes I wish neowin had a dislike button.

Nonsense. Even Microsoft admitted that Microsoft Security Essentials only offers "baseline protection." While I admit that MSE is better than nothing at all, there are better alternatives available, such as Avira, or Avast!

I would like to say that bit defender has plagued me with some BSOD issues lately. I was using it because of this study, but after an update it started conflicting with my graphics and audio drivers, and was doing funny things with java.

I switched back to MSE to test this, and it was indeed bit-defender acting weird.

"Personally I think" Is completely irrelevant when assessing a security application.

MSE has been in the top 5 of independent antivirus tests - including all end user products, paid and free. It's one of very very few security applications to stop 100% of the thousands of malware samples independent tests throw at them.

Facts are very important when talking about security. Opinions are not relevant at all.

One thing you need to remember is that MSE definitions do not contain threats that have already been patched by windows update. This is one of the ways that they keep its footprint small. We need to know what revision of windows the test computer was on.

Another thing that you need to remember is that MSE prioritizes threats based on how wide spread they are. When you look at the stats that Microsoft put out based on this study, you can see how much of a different picture it paints.

0.0033% of MSE users was effected by threats missed in the test.
0% of MSE users in the wild have ever encountered 94% of the threats tested.

macoman said,
If XP users can't or don't want to upgrade they will need to find alternatives to keep up with security threats.

Its reaching the point where they should just pull the lan cable.