Patch support for Windows XP SP2 ends tomorrow

Windows XP, the stalwart OS that kept Microsoft chugging through the rollercoaster days of Windows Vista, will be officially taking versions of XP running SP2 off the patch schedule tomorrow. This comes as no surprise, as Microsoft has already laid out a clear timetable for gradually removing support from XP. The schedule has Microsoft completely pulling support from all XP products in 2014. While upgrading to SP3 is free and not too difficult, users running 64-bit versions of XP will be stuck with SP2, and their important security updates for programs like Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, and Windows Media Player, are going to stop coming tomorrow.

According to Computerworld, however, you can still run XP SP2 while staying safe and secure, if you’re so inclined. First, they suggest getting rid of Internet Explorer altogether. While that browser won’t be getting any more security updates, other browsers, like Firefox and Chrome, will. They also suggest actively upgrading all your third party applications and plugins to their latest versions. Don’t depend on your software’s auto updating capabilities for this task. Many vulnerable and oft exploited programs, like Adobe Flash Player plugins, aren’t automatically updated, and constantly upgrading that software will require some diligence on the part of the user.

Microsoft may not be releasing any more patches, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to ignore XP altogether. In fact, many security bulletins posted before or on Microsoft’s patch Tuesday include information that’s applicable to many, if not all, versions of Windows, and can be fixed with manual workarounds in the absence of an official patch. 

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Come on MS...now release an SP4, even if it's just a rollup of all updates/hotfixes released since SP3...downloading 150+MB worth of updates on every clean XP installation is a huge waste of time and bandwidth!! Not to mention the actual hotfix installation time.

I'm saying this as a developer, who still has to test software on XP...I have to wipe/recreate clean XP VMs on a regular basis. If I could just slipstream a newer SP that includes the latest fixes, that would be a huge time saver...

_dandy_ said,
Come on MS...now release an SP4, even if it's just a rollup of all updates/hotfixes released since SP3...downloading 150+MB worth of updates on every clean XP installation is a huge waste of time and bandwidth!! Not to mention the actual hotfix installation time.

I'm saying this as a developer, who still has to test software on XP...I have to wipe/recreate clean XP VMs on a regular basis. If I could just slipstream a newer SP that includes the latest fixes, that would be a huge time saver...


Alternatively just take a snapshot of your VM right after the updates are installed, then use that to recreate clean XP VMs with

_dandy_ said,
I have to wipe/recreate clean XP VMs on a regular basis. If I could just slipstream a newer SP that includes the latest fixes, that would be a huge time saver...

You're doing it wrong. As Ryster notes, you should be using snapshots to capture known clean states, reverting as needed. This is half the point of using a virtual machine in the first place.

I make extensive use of virtual machines for all manner of tests, even ones that will knowingly mess up the guest OS (e.g. deleting the boot loader to test whether a backup program is able to successfully restore it), but when I'm finished I simply roll back to the previous clean state (and optionally create a new snapshot branch if I might want to return to that test's state at a later point). As long as you make good use of snapshots at important milestones you will never need to reinstall a guest OS.

Okay, bad example...but this doesn't negate the fact that if MS rolled all hotfixes into a service pack, they'd save a lot of people a significant amount of time, no?

_dandy_ said,
Okay, bad example...but this doesn't negate the fact that if MS rolled all hotfixes into a service pack, they'd save a lot of people a significant amount of time, no?

I think it's coming. MS just extended support of XP until 2020.

Captain555 said,

I think it's coming. MS just extended support of XP until 2020.

WRONG

extended support != downgrade right

It should be noted that XP SP2 x64 has support until whenever XP SP3 x86 runs out. There is no XP SP3 x64
Also some quite funny comments on Slashdot:

Luckily, XP x64 was always basically immune (to exploits) anyway. It's pretty hard to get 0wn3d when you can't find a NIC driver...

For me the most fascinating thing is this:
"....the majority of Windows XP users still haven't upgraded to SP3. This could open up millions of users/businesses to exploitation, since security updates for SP2 will stop coming in while security fixes to SP3 may clue hackers in to vulnerabilities."

Farstrider said,
It should be noted that XP SP2 x64 has support until whenever XP SP3 x86 runs out. There is no XP SP3 x64
I'm pretty sure support for XP x64 is tied to the support of Win2k3 so it will end in 2015

Trying to convince your company to upgrade to Windows 7 for better well... everything -- is very, very difficult. Made more difficult by the fact that vendors find no obligation to validate their software to work in SP3.

Hercules said,
Trying to convince your company to upgrade to Windows 7 for better well... everything -- is very, very difficult. Made more difficult by the fact that vendors find no obligation to validate their software to work in SP3.
It's very costly for a large company to upgrade to 7, most of the time the cost won't be recovered either. What will push large companies to upgrade is the end of support because then it will become a security issue.

So I would expect most large companies to update by 2013 or so

Aaron44126 said,
The 64-bit version of XP is on a different support schedule. It will receive updates as long as Windows Server 2003 does.
Yea, until July 14th 2015

That's strange, updating my grandfather's SP2 computer tonight to either 7 or SP3, totally forgot support was running out tomorrow!

"What!? People still use XP!?"

I wish I could say that without being sarcastic, but people are still using XP. It's slowing down innovation and preventing new technologies from being used.

If Win7 was cheaper I'd buy multiple licenses. As it's not I'll probably stick with WinXP for as long as possible and then move to Ubuntu or something.

Cryton said,
If Win7 was cheaper I'd buy multiple licenses. As it's not I'll probably stick with WinXP for as long as possible and then move to Ubuntu or something.

What are you talking about? Windows 7 Home Premium OEM is £84.99 at my local store. That is CHEAP for something as complex as an operating system. Also it's only £5 more expensive than the current price of Windows XP Home Editions OEM. I'm fairly confident that Windows XP Home OEM cost more than £79.99 when it was new.

The clock is ticking, folks. Time to get with the program. With hardware being dirt cheap these days, there's no excuse.

bjoswald said,
The clock is ticking, folks. Time to get with the program. With hardware being dirt cheap these days, there's no excuse.
Agreed, but when someone is working with old software and doesn't have a need for newer software, they have little reason to upgrade.

That being said, I think everyone should be running Win 7 and dual-cores or better, but some people, despite having the money, do not need or flat out refuse to spend the money to upgrade.

bjoswald said,
The clock is ticking, folks. Time to get with the program. With hardware being dirt cheap these days, there's no excuse.
While it's ticking, 4 years is still a very long time

Xypro said,
NOOOOOO, the dead of XP has finally come to our doom, but we were saved by windows 7
XP isn't dead yet, support for Sp3 is still going strong

Leroy Jethro Gibbs said,
Not for XP x64
Did I say anything about XP x64? It's support is based on Win2k3 so it's not really relevant

Leroy Jethro Gibbs said,
Not for XP x64
Actually I just looked up when the support for Win2k3 ends and it's even longer than XP, it will be supported until July 14th 2015....so if anyone REALLY doesn't want to upgrade they ca move to XP64

Leroy Jethro Gibbs said,
Not for XP x64

Imo XP x64 was dead on it's birth. Hardly any supported drivers because maybe 0.5% of all users used it.

RuuddieBoy said,

Imo XP x64 was dead on it's birth. Hardly any supported drivers because maybe 0.5% of all users used it.
I personally never really had a hard time finding drivers for my machine...

Rudy said,
I personally never really had a hard time finding drivers for my machine...

Well I did, some vista/7 drivers don't work on the machine so then you've got to look up model numbers, which are a pain, and don't get me started on TV card drivers... Pff, nightmare.

If this is soo... will MS update the darn compatability mode in Vista and I don't know Wnd 7, to XP SP3 and not 2?? Or at least add XP SP3...

This will mainly affect IT. I connot imaging too many people with SP2. But hey you never know... I know at work we use SP2 and recently they updated us.

Rudy said,
XP isn't dead yet, support for Sp3 is still going strong

Going strong ? You must be kidding. XP SP3 is in extended support. No bugs will be fixed, only security-related things.

Aethec said,

Going strong ? You must be kidding. XP SP3 is in extended support. No bugs will be fixed, only security-related things.
Which is pretty damn good for a 9 year old OS

Aethec said,

Going strong ? You must be kidding. XP SP3 is in extended support. No bugs will be fixed, only security-related things.

Everything always change my friend. Microsoft just announced the support of XP will be extended until 2020.

Can you say XP service pack 4 ? I knew you could.