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Ten years ago, Windows XP received its final update

A Windows XP logo

Exactly ten years ago, on April 8, 2014, Microsoft released the final security patch for Windows XP. The day marked the end of the road for one of the most iconic Windows versions ever released.

Microsoft shipped the initial RTM build of Windows XP on August 24, 2001. Two months later, Windows XP became generally available. The operating system received almost eight years of mainstream support with new features, bug fixes, and security patches (the final Service Pack 3 was out on April 21, 2008). It ended on April 14, 2009.

Once the mainstream support phase was over, Microsoft kicked off the Extended Security Program for enterprises willing to pay Microsoft for a few more years of security updates. Unlike more modern Windows 7, which had three years of extended security updates, Microsoft released paid Windows XP updates for five years. The program ended on April 8, 2014, more than 12 years after the initial Windows XP release.

Due to the misfired release of Windows Vista (remember Windows Vista laptops shipping with Windows XP activation codes for downgrades?), Windows XP stuck around for much longer than expected. That later turned out to be quite a problem for Microsoft as millions of PCs were now running an unsupported operating system.

The default Windows XP Bliss wallpaper

Technically speaking, the security updates released on April 8, 2014, were not the final patches Windows XP received. In May 2017, Microsoft released emergency fixes to stop the spread of WannaCry ransomware, which utilized the EternalBlue exploit developed by the NSA and stolen by The Shadow Brokers group. A similar update was released two years ago to patch a vulnerability in Remote Desktop Services.

Ten years after its end, Windows XP still refuses to die. According to the latest data from Statcounter, about 0.39% of all Windows PCs with access to the internet are still powered by a now 22-year-old operating system.

A similar fate might be waiting for Windows 10, which will reach the end of mainstream support in October 2025. Microsoft will be offering three years of extended security updates at a price of $61 per machine per year. Unlike the previous Windows versions, the Extended Security Program for Windows 10 will also be available for home users. Microsoft says it will soon announce all details about that, including prices.

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