Security Advisor

Security Essentials Support for Windows XP Ending in April

After April 8, option to download Microsoft's free antimalware software for XP systems won't be available.

Microsoft announced that Microsoft Security Essentials, its free antimalware software, will no longer be supported for Windows XP once official support ends on April 8.

Microsoft slipped the announcement unceremoniously on Microsoft's XP support ending notification Web site and further clarification on why Security Essentials would no longer be supported was not given.

"As a result, after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date."

While those systems that currently have Microsoft Security Essentials will continue to be protected, it's unlikely that Microsoft will provide updates for XP users. So, while Security Essentials will protect you from the majority of today's risks, don't look for any issues coming after April 8 to be blocked by the free antimalware software.

Seeing as Windows XP still holds close to a 30 percent worldwide desktop market share, according to Net Applications, Microsoft's latest announcement is just another step in the company's campaign to convince users that if you're still using Windows XP after support has ended, your system is a high-risk target.

While official support will be running out, there are options for those wanting to stay shacked to the dying OS. Custom support (while pricey) will be available through Microsoft and other third-party firms. However, in the long run, it may be cheaper to upgrade. And for those wanting to make a few generational leaps from XP straight to Windows 8.1, Microsoft this week highlighted a workaround to make the migration possible.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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