Microsoft abandoned Windows XP some months ago and while some users moved on to other operating systems, others are still running windows XP.
The main issue here is that Microsoft won't release official security patches for the operating system anymore which leaves it vulnerable to exploits discovered after end of support.
There is a way to get security updates still, but those are not designed for XP but for POS systems that are still supported by Microsoft until 2019. While based on the same core, it is more of a last resort for users who cannot switch to another operating system.
Why are systems not upgraded?
On the company side of things, it is likely that applications designed for Windows XP are the core reason why systems are not switched. There may be other reasons, like an unwillingness to invest in new hardware or a decision making process that takes way to long.
End users on the other hand may not want to move away from a trusted system. Some may run XP on hardware that is not compatible with newer versions of Windows, while others may not want to buy a new Windows license for the upgrade.
VirtualXP is a free for personal use software that can turn an existing Windows XP system into a virtual machine that you can run on a newer version of Windows afterwards.
It works by converting the operating system to a Microsoft virtual disk which you can run on all client and server versions of Windows starting with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.
The core idea behind this is the following: Instead of running an insecure version of Windows XP directly, it is run in a virtual environment on a protected system.
This reduces the impact that vulnerabilities can have thanks to that. Companies who require XP to run applications can do so this way.
Note: The program does not resolve issues for users who don't want to upgrade to a new version of Windows. It is therefore mostly useful in situations where backwards compatibility is required.
Here is how it works:
- Download VirtualXP from the Farstone website.
- Click on the get a free license for home use button to get a license sent to your email address.
- Start the program on a PC running Windows XP SP2 or SP3.
- Follow the instructions on the screen.
The program can convert all partitions of the system or only select ones depending on your requirements.
The free version of the program has another limitation. It cannot convert Windows 2003 Server systems as this is reserved for the standard version that is available for $29.95.