Windows XP End-of-Support is not the End of the World

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 8, 2014
Updated • Apr 8, 2014
Windows, Windows XP

Today is the last day of extended support for Microsoft's popular operating system Windows XP.

What this means is that Microsoft won't publish public security patches for the operating system after that day.

Governments and businesses can pay the company to extend support further, but if your home PC is running XP, you are on your own.

Most news outlets in the world make it look like as if all hell will break lose come Wednesday. Chance is however, that nothing close to that will happen.

Think about it for a moment. Microsoft will release the last batch of public patches for Windows XP, and if it would continue support, it would release the next batch next month unless a new 0-day vulnerability is discovered that is in the wild already. So, one extra month to harden the system or switch to another operating system at the very least.

There is a chance that attackers have discovered a new vulnerability already that they will exploit starting today, but the likelihood that this is happening is slim.

And the past has shown that official operating system patches are not necessarily helping against attacks, as part of the Windows user base is not installing them at all or in a reasonable period of time.

According to Microsoft, the infection rate of Windows XP systems is almost twice as high as that of Vista or 7, and four times as high as that of Windows 8. The data comes from the company's own security products.

xp infection rate

It is interesting to note in this regard that infection levels for unprotected computer systems, that is systems without real-time antivirus software, are four times as high when it comes to Windows XP according to a Microsoft study from 2012.

The company expects infection rates to rise based on data that it collected after support for Windows XP SP2 ended in 2010.

So, adding proper protection to the system will reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of a malware attack.


While Windows XP users certainly need to follow security guidelines to reduce the chance that their system is impacted by vulnerabilities that won't get fixed anymore, it is quite possible to protect the system from the majority of attacks that are developed after today.

We have published a guide on how to secure XP after April 2014 and suggest you take a look at it to improve your system's security to a point where most malware won't affect it.

Here is a short summary for those of you who are in a hurry:

  1. Make sure all other programs and drivers are up to date at all time.
  2. Use at least one real-time antivirus software (such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro) and an active two-way firewall.
  3. Use a sandboxing solution such as Sandboxie or virtualization for critical applications.
  4. Use common sense all the time, e.g. don't execute file attachments in emails without virus scanning them, don't click on links in emails or chats.

While Windows XP won't receive official patches anymore, it is still possible to harden it to block many attack attempts before they affect the system.

Closing Words

If you are running Windows XP and take care of your system, chance is that you won't notice any difference to before.

While I suggest you pay good attention to security alerts and releases by Microsoft for the company's supported operating systems to check out mitigation factors and understand attack vectors, it is not really something that you need to worry about in short term unless you do not use proper protection.

What will you do today if you are using XP?


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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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