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With as many as 29%
of PCs still on Windows XP, I’m avidly following what will happen when Microsoft
stops supporting it in early April 2014. The recent news is that several third-party
anti-virus software makers will continue supporting Windows XP, but how well
will they work? Fully? Partially? Not at all? We went on a quest to find out
what experts recommend.
OK. I confess that I’m having a hard time letting go of this
issue because we’re talking about nearly a third of the hundreds of millions of
PCs in use worldwide – about 100 million of
them in the U.S. Plenty are still in charities and libraries.
Most anti-virus software makers have
announced that they will support Windows XP beyond the XPocalypse
in April. Our question is: How well will third-party anti-virus software
protect Windows XP after Microsoft stops supporting it in April 2014? Fully?
Partially? Not at all?
Contributing analyst for networking
security for PCMag, Fahmida
Rashid gave our Ginny
Mies the low-down:
“The answer is ‘it depends’ on which
antivirus company we are talking about. Most of them have committed to continue
supporting XP for at least a year, if not longer:
The libraries (and charities) realize
that even if the AV is being updated, they are basically leaving themselves
wide open, right? I understand the reluctance, and the budget constraints. It's
just that in this case, I feel like the AV part is a false sense of hope.
I think of it as sitting in a car
facing on-coming traffic, but it's okay, I have a seatbelt!”
Softpedia.com ran a piece entitled Third-Party
Anti-Virus Software Can’t Help Protect Windows XP in October.
Mediati, former security editor at PCWorld told us “My guess is
that it all comes down to individual vendors to continue supporting it.”
Test maintains: “On a long-term basis, even the best security suites will
not be able to repair these weaknesses, which until now have been patched up by
the approximately 100 updates released by Microsoft every year. For security
reasons, you should therefore plan to switch to another system.”
Microsoft probably should have
the final word. Info
Security Magazine quotes them: "the
effectiveness of anti-malware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is
I like the recommendations from Windows
Club, which are confirmed by Tom’s
Guide on this. The idea is to replace several major components of Windows
XP with alternative software. Here are some examples:
I think we’ve found that Windows XP users after early April
can get a bit of protection from your computer system getting ruined by malware
It’s pretty clear, though, that if you can afford it you
should upgrade your OS before April.
We'd love to hear your experience on upgrading (or not upgrading) from XP. Please log in to comment.
Image: Joost van Velzen
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