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Support of Windows XP ends at 2014-04-08. There is a lot of fuss and fear around this and many arcticles on what you should do but I haven't found a clear explanation: What does the end of support actually mean?

  1. There won't be any new updates. This is the only thing which is clear.

  2. Will we be able to get the old updates? This resource weakly suggests that yes, but I haven't found any more confirmation of that.

  3. Will we be able to install Windows XP on new machines? There was some procedure of confirming the key over the network (registering windows), so will this work as before?

  4. Are there any other direct changes for users of Windows XP?


Note: I am not asking on security consequences of the above, and have my own opinion on updates of this product, so please be so kind and skip the big warnings and disclaimers how it's impossible to use XP without updates. There have been a lot of scaring people and no actual explanation of what actually is going on - this question is meant to fill in the gap.

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There are already articles that exist that describe what it means for end users. The only real change is that new updates are nto release. Additionally MSE will no longer be updated but signature updates will be published. Nothing else changes for now. –  Ramhound Feb 10 at 13:08
    
@Ramhound what are signature updates? So if you don't use MSE but other antivirus there is no other change for you? –  Tomas Feb 10 at 13:10
    
Most security threats are detected by their signature. –  Ramhound Feb 10 at 13:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

For #2 assuming Microsoft will actually keep those files available, then yes it will be, but I can't find confirmation anywhere.

For #3 This link answers it pretty well and content that we care:

Microsoft will also support the activation of Windows XP throughout its life and will likely provide an update that turns activation off at the end of the product's lifecycle so users would no longer be required to activate the product.

For #4 Since XP will simply still work, and there are actually LESS annoying as it will no longer annoy end users for "Windows Update"

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2  
Its important to point out that. Windows 7's XP Mode will still require the ability to be activated. When Windows 7 is no longer suported the ability to activate Windows XP will likely change at that time. –  Ramhound Feb 10 at 13:18
    
Thank you Darius +1 and special +1 for the #4 - we are on the same page :-) –  Tomas Feb 11 at 7:54
    
Too bad that "less annoying" also means less secure. –  lethal-guitar Mar 5 at 12:23
    
I accepted this answer despite of it being less verbose than the other one, because it addresses the points of my question directly and clearly. Verbosity is not the most important criteria. –  Tomas Mar 20 at 19:00

April 8 2014 is the date at which Microsoft officially stops providing technical support for Microsoft Windows XP. This has a number of consequences for end users including (but not limited to):

Confirmed Events

  1. No new updates provided for the Windows XP operating system.
  2. Microsoft Security Essentials will not be available for download from Microsoft after April 8, however the following Microsoft anti-malware products will continue to receive updates until July 14, 2015

    Microsoft Security Essentials
    Forefront Client Security
    Forefront Endpoint Protection
    System Center Endpoint Protection Windows Intune

Unconfirmed Events

  1. Device manufacturers will begin phasing out the release of Windiws XP compatible drivers for new products, and may stop updating the Windows XP drivers for existing products

  2. Application developers will not continue to consider Windows XP when making changes to their products so versions released after the end of support may or may not continue to run on Windows XP.

  3. New versions of web browsers will eventually not be available on Windows XP. As web sites are upgraded to use newer features of web standards such as CSS, Windows XP users will eventually begin to notice that sites do not display correctly. Additionally web sites which strictly enforce browser version checking may become inaccessible to Windows XP users

  4. Longer term, newer versions of Windows may change their default authentication protocols or other security policies. If this happens, Windows XP users may experience difficulty doing things like logging into Active Directory or accessing file shares hosted on newer versions of Windows, unless these machines are permitted to use the earlier protocol version, which system administrators may choose not to allow for security reasons.

Sources:

  1. Microsoft
  2. The Register
  3. Personal experience running Windows 98 after EOL
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Thanks +1. I have numbered your points to be able to refer to them. Can you please separate what is actually sure and confirmed (I guess only points 1, 2), from what you expect from your experience? For example the points 4 and 5 are a bit speculative as the app developers have their own interest and for sure will watch the % of users more than support/lack of support.. Anyway if you can place the citations to those particular points it would be great. –  Tomas Feb 11 at 8:06
    
@Tomas I disagree that point 4 is speculative, none of the major browser vendors currently support Windows 98 for example, further to that as Internet Explorer is itself a component of Windows, no version of Internet Explorer will be supported on Windows XP after EOL, and the fact that no modern versions of Firefox or Chrome officially supports any of the legacy Windows versions is fairly strong historical evidence that EOL will cause the comparability issues described eventually. I will however mark the events I have sources for as confirmed, as requested. –  Crippledsmurf Feb 11 at 8:59

This can mean a couple things depending on the context in which you are using the operating system. Obviously security is a big concern, but skipping over this we can look at the usability of the system and applications on it.

Once support ends you won't receive updates anymore (as far as I am aware you can still get old updates just not sure why this would matter to you). As you can expect it will soon get to the point where you system gets slower as applications add more strain in their system requirements. Obviously there is a benefit of no being bugged for system updates, but they are somewhat important for your system.

The applications themselves will very soon not develop a framework which works on Windows XP. Again security features will come into play here, but new features will not be available to you and your applications will likely develop a range of bugs over time as any application would. Browser support will likely hit you first as Flash and Java quickly become outdated. This will lead to sites like YouTube not accepting your Flash install anymore (and without a system to run the updated versions you will be finished there)

If you wish Microsoft does offer support for Windows XP at the cost of $200 per computer per year with the price doubling each year you use it as suggested here

Corporate users who require applications like SharePoint will see problems quickly. Trying to get these sorts of applications working along with IE8 at present it a nightmare enough, but once support ends it won't be worth the hassle.

There is my stand on it anyway :)

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