Support for Windows XP ends in:

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Overview

Microsoft is ending support for the Windows XP operating system and Office 2003 product line on April 8, 2014. After this date, these products will no longer receive:

  • Security patches which help protect PCs from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software
  • Assisted technical support from Microsoft
  • Software and content updates

Description

All software products have a lifecycle. End of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance. As of February 2014, nearly 30 percent of Internet-connected PCs still run Windows XP. Microsoft will send “End of Support” notifications to users of Windows XP who have elected to receive updates via Windows Update. Users of CSE machines will not receive the notification.

Impact

Computer systems running unsupported software are exposed to an elevated risk to cybersecurity dangers, such as malicious attacks or electronic data loss. Any vulnerability found in a more recent OS will be not be fixed in Windows XP. This means that an attacker need only browse Microsoft's site for fixes, and check to see if XP is vulnerable as well, to create a successful exploit against XP that will not ever be patched by Microsoft. Users may also encounter problems with software and hardware compatibility, since new software applications and hardware devices may not be built for Windows XP or Office 2003.

Solution

The best solution would be to install to a more recent version of Windows or Office. There are a number of avenues to choose from, elaborated below depending on the machine and your status with the UW.

Machines owned by the University of Washington (or CSE):

You can have CSE Support install an OS for you. Simply email Support or submit a PC Installation Request.

Personal machines:

You will need to upgrade you machine yourself, for little to no cost.

  • CSE students, faculty, staff, and students enrolled in a CSE course for credit: Windows, Visual Studio, etc. (everything but Office) can be downloaded from the CSE Microsoft Imagine page.
  • UW Students: Office 2011 for Mac, Office Professional Plus 2010 and 2013, Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade and Windows 8 Professional Upgrade, can be downloaded by any UW student for free from the University of Washington UWare site.
  • UW Faculty and Staff: Under the current Microsoft Campus Agreement, University of Washington faculty and staff are eligible to obtain one copy of the latest version of Microsoft Office (either Office 2013 for Windows or Office 2011 for Mac). The cost is approximately $10 for a download of each product; or $22 for the media to be mailed to you. See the Microsoft Home Use Program site for details.

For the Love of XP

Computers operating Windows XP with SP3 or running Office 2003 products will continue to work after support ends. However, using unsupported software may increase the risk of viruses and other security threats. Domain users who choose to continue using Windows XP after the end of support will have their machines forcibly removed from the domain. This means that said machines will become automatically self-managed, and you may need to contact support for login access.

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