Microsoft has stopped all Windows XP support from today, April 8, meaning no additional support or updates will ever be provided again.
The aim of stopping support for Windows XP is to allow Microsoft to plough support into more recent technologies and “continue to deliver great experiences”.
Launching in 2001, Windows XP is over 12 years old, but around 25 per cent of users still run Windows XP on their systems.
From today though, they will no longer receive official security updates, bug fixes or other technical assistance for the older desktop OS.
This may not be of concern to you, but anyone still running Windows XP could find their PC is now exposed to viruses and various other malware.
“Effectively, every vulnerability discovered after today will become a zero-day vulnerability – that is, one for which there is (and never will be) a patch”, said David Emm from Kaspersky Lab. “This problem will be compounded as application vendors stop developing updates for Windows XP: this will create an even greater attack surface, since every unpatched application will become a further potential point of compromise.”
“Malware writers will undoubtedly target Windows XP more, since an un-patched operating system will offer them a much bigger window of opportunity in which to exploit any vulnerabilities they find.”
The UK and Dutch governments have actually paid Microsoft to extend support for Windows XP for an additional year.
In fact, the UK government forked out £5.5 million to support Windows XP for another year while it moves public-sector PCs to the latest Windows 8.1 operating system.
Microsoft has been preparing these XP support changes for quite some time though, as the Custom Support Team began to ask businesses to pay more when refusing to make the update.
In March it also began offering Windows XP users discounts on the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 or a Windows 8.1 PC.
If you want to find out how the Windows XP support axing will affect you, head to the Microsoft Support pages.