Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows xp, windows, microsoft, google, EoL, chrome
It has been a year since Microsoft cut off extended support for Windows XP including Internet Explorer security updates for the platform. Yeah, I know, it doesn't feel like it. Other browser vendors announced that they would continue to target the retired OS after Microsoft washed their hands of it. At the time, Google said they would give at least 12 months support, which brings us to yesterday.
Now Google is extending their commitment to the end of the year. They did not say that it was a hard deadline for their customers, but they also did not add an “at least” qualifier this time. The browser vendor wants people to upgrade and admits that they cannot genuinely provide a secure experience if a known issue bites everyone at the OS level. You can keep training the guard at the door, but if your window falls out, mind the pun, then it is still dangerous to be inside.
Granted, we have not seen a major attack on XP over the last year. You would have to think that, even if the attacks are sophisticated, some of the victims would have noticed and reported it to someone. Still, I wonder how it keeps surviving, especially since I would have thought that at least one vulnerability in the last twelve Patch Tuesdays could be ported back to it.
Maybe it is too small of a target?
Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2014 - 01:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows xp, Windows 8.1, microsoft
Now that the average consumer has no choice but to buy a machine with Windows 8 or 8.1, the number of PCs running Win 8.1 has hit 10%. The increase beginning in November represents the official end of the availability of machines with Win7 preinstalled although you can see that this has not had much effect on the number of Win7 machines still running. The majority of users seem to be switching from WinXP which reached its extended EoL in April of this year. The other main point to take away from the data that The Register linked to is that those who bought Windows Vista are a stubborn crew, the number of desktops running Vista have dropped 2% but there are still a fair number of machines running the much maligned OS.
"Windows 8.1 broke the global 10 per cent market-share barrier a year after general release, and has now hit 10.95 per cent, according to latest data from StatCounter."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Bluetooth 4.2 looks to the Internet of Things with direct IPv6 internet connection @ The Inquirer
- Intel appoints Robert Swinnen as new head of Asia Pacific branch @ DigiTimes
- Iranian CLEAVER hacks through airport security, Cisco boxen @ The Register
- US parking operator: YEP, hackers got your names, credit card numbers, secret codes... @ The Register
- Overclocking Competitions: About the Player not the Hardware @ Hardware Asylum
- Fixing An NES For Good @ Hack a Day
- COMPRO TN2200 Mini-Dome Cloud Network Camera Review @ NikKTech
- Gangnam Style BREAKS YouTube @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2014 - 01:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows xp
Would you trust a third party developer to provide you with a new service pack for Windows XP? There is currently a beta version of SP4 developed by one 'harkaz' that you can download and install by following the link at The Inquirer on 32-bit versions of XP with at least SP1 installed. There are updates to .NET, MCE and a variety of hotfixes in the Service Pack so the majority of the patches are already officially available as individual updates from Windows Update, just rolled into one easy to install package. The one major change is the POSready registry setting which will allow machines to get the updates intended for Windows XP Embedded which is supported until 2019. Check it out, if you dare.
"The developer, who is known as "harkaz", has been working on the service pack since last September. It will work on any version of Windows XP with at least Service Pack 1 applied and can easily be slipstreamed into installation media for fresh installs."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Qualcomm offers $19.99 Internet of Things development kit @ The Inquirer
- Fake NVIDIA Graphics Cards Show Up In Germany @ Slashdot
- Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws @ The Register
- AVerMedia ExtremeCap U3 Capture Device Review @ Hardware Secrets
- New Certification Program Helps Linux Pros Show What They Know @ Linux.com
- BT Smart Home Cam 100 @ Kitguru
- Homemade Nerf Blasters With 3D Printed Parts @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2014 - 08:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows xp
The recent Internet Explorer remote code vulnerability has been fixed for all affected versions of IE, on every affected platform. Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 on Windows XP, both 32 and 64-bit versions of the OS, have received the update, despite being unsupported (EOL). The fixes are available on Windows Update.
According to Microsoft's official statement, these updates were pushed to Windows XP because it is close enough to April 8th, XP's EOL date, that it made sense to. Another possible reason is that, since IE6 (and later) are still supported on Windows Server 2003, the update is not entirely tied to Windows XP. It is not like the update was made exclusively for paid "Custom Support" users, IE 6, 7, and 8 are still supported products somewhere.
In any case, Microsoft is still clear with XP users that they are on borrowed time. They encourage users of Windows XP to migrate to Windows 7 or 8.1, and install IE 11 while they are at it. This will not be the bug to bite you, though.
Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2014 - 07:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows xp, windows, microsoft
Windows XP will be end-of-life in just 59 days and Microsoft is concerned. They want to enlist their blog readers as tech support who encourages the upgrade to Windows 8.1 directly, or by the purchase of a new PC. Of course, they are not going to provide any incentive or discount. They just hope that a little peer pressure is all they need.
I will not beat someone up for being a dreamer, but...
The security nightmare is real, however. It is expected that attackers are hoarding vulnerabilities until after April 8th, when open security holes will remain without patch. Some customers will be allowed paid extra support, apparently at the price of $200 per PC for a year. Of course, this is common practice and can limit the number affected by the rumored malware apocalypse.
Then again, I expect that plenty of those machines are already ripe with infection.
Microsoft seems to be hoping that the exodus from Windows XP will land in Windows 8.1 and solve two problems at once. Windows 7 is still available in devices and resellers who stocked up on old installation media, both in spite of Microsoft (rather than endorsed).
For the rest of us, sit back and watch. I will make a crazy prediction and claim that, sometime between now and June, Microsoft should flinch in some way. It could be the re-introduction of Windows 7, some promotion or discount for retailers or system builders, or whatever.
I think they will be disappointed by April.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 21, 2014 - 03:39 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows xp, Windows 7, hp
Windows 7 is not available to purchase at retail, officially, but system builders are still allowed to integrate it into their PCs until at least October. At the same time, Windows XP is nearing its end of life of April 8th (the day of its last security update). A third coincidence, modern Windows could easily be compared to modern art because it is made by someone who tells you what is legitimate and, when you actually attempt to admire it, makes no sense unless the designer explains everything.
If you purchase from a set of select new desktop or laptops, HP will ship it with Windows 7 installed by default. On top of needing to physically choose Windows 8.1, the default Windows 7 install also comes with a $150 USD discount. The models are spread between Pavilion and Envy desktops and laptops.
I believe this is a very smart move for HP. You may soon have a mass of customers looking to replace expired devices and they may want the closest analogy to what they are used to. They will still have Windows 8-based options but they want to capitalize on anyone looking for something else.
Personally, trolling aside, I actually do not mind the interface of Windows 8.1. My only complaint is the reliance upon Windows Store and its potential future problems especially if it becomes the only way to install software. Could you imagine if someone like the NSA forced Microsoft to not certify encryption apps (or worse, tamper with them)? One of a million problems that mandatory certification, and the interest groups who abuse it, brings.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | December 8, 2013 - 11:14 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows xp, Windows 7
Users of Windows 7, current and planned, have a few dates to remember. First, as of October 30th, Microsoft has stopped selling retail (boxed) packages of that operating system. Second, OEMs can continue to sell systems with Windows 7 preloaded for a year after that date (October 30th, 2014). Third, the operating system will receive typical updates until January 13th, 2015. Fourth, security fixes will be provided until January 14th, 2020. Oddly, Microsoft's website disagrees with Mary Jo Foley's timeline; I expect it might just be out of date.
Windows XP is creeping towards the oblivion as April slowly arrives. The 8th of that month marks the end of security updates and other forms of utter chaos for machines with a vibrant green Start button. With Microsoft essentially turning a blind eye to unpatched exploits, it will become progressively more unsafe to use XP except in well controlled (virtualized, firewalled, etc.) instances.
But, according to Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, Microsoft will not sell them a retail copy of the Windows 7 any more (as of October 30th, 2013). The official Windows Product Lifecycle guide, however, still lists this date as "To be determined". Either Microsoft is very slow (updating their warning website after the date passes) or it was a much softer deadline than the editorial claims. Most of the Amazon product pages are for third party resellers, except for Windows 7 Pro Full, so it might just be clearing stock. Who knows.
OEMs will have a much easier time, however. Microsoft will continue allowing them to sell Windows 7 with new PCs for another year, until October 30th 2014. Again, this date is unlisted from the Windows Product Lifecycle guide.
It will all need to come to an end at some point though. Windows XP lost mainstream support back in April 14th, 2009; the same will come of Windows 7 in a little over a year: January 13th, 2015. That said, beyond new versions of Internet Explorer, Windows 7 has not been receiving too many updates as it stands. With DirectX now considered a core feature of Windows, the last couple of revisions are exclusive to the latest release. We still have Firefox and Chrome when they pull IE from our cold dead hands. I feel weird writing this...
The most devastating date, which XP users are about to face, is the end of extended support. Come January 14th, 2020, Microsoft will not longer provide security updates. Users of Windows 7 will need to be extra cautious and only deploy it in well controlled environments.
Like for me, if Microsoft continues going down the Windows Store path, a VM on a Linux machine.
Subject: General Tech | September 3, 2013 - 12:17 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows xp, windows, security, microsoft, legacy, enterprise, custom support
Windows XP seems to be the OS that simply will not die, and it seems that Microsoft has given in slightly on its plans to no longer support the aging operating system. For those customers willing to pay, Microsoft will continue patching Windows XP through its Custom Support program.
Custom Support is mainly aimed at large enterprise and industrial customers who, for legacy or other reasons, have yet to move on to newer OS versions from XP. The program will pick up from where Microsoft ends its public extended support for Windows XP (Service Pack 3) on April 8, 2014.
Businesses that elect to go the Custom Support route and stick with XP will pay approximately $200 per PC for the first year alone. The systems in the program will continue to receive patches for vulnerabilities rated as “Critical” with optional patches for “Important” security issues available for additional fees, according to Gregg Keizer writing for PCWorld. Security issues classed by Microsoft as being of low or moderate importance will not be patched at all.
Microsoft will reportedly be delivering these patches through a secure channel other than the standard Windows Update in an attempt to keep non-paying Windows XP users from getting their hands on the patches.
For now, it seems that Windows XP is still here to stay in a big way, at least in the enterprise space where it is likely cheaper to keep XP in circulation than to upgrade PCs, retrain employees, and re-code legacy applications. It will cost a pretty penny to keep the old OS up to date and (mostly) secure, however.