Despite Its Age, Windows XP Remains a Perennial Favorite
Microsoft will end its support of Windows XP in less than week, yet the operating system remains more popular than Windows 8 and is only second to Windows 7. The stability present with XP is part of the reason why it has remained popular in workplaces and still controls 27.7 percent of the market, according to research firm NetMarketShare.
XP's popularity has decreased slightly from earlier this year, when it actually grew to 29.2 percent, according to statistics compiled by NetMarketShare. However, XP remains more common than Windows 8 and 8.1 combined and even a lack of support will not completely change that. For an OS that was released in 2001, it is impressive that XP has remained a go-to platform.
Security is already an issue with XP. Users of XP are six times as likely to be attacked in comparison with Windows 7 users, according to anti-virus vendor Avast. Once Microsoft halts its security updates on Tuesday, XP's vulnerability will increase.
Pleas from Microsoft
XP users will not necessarily upgrade to a more recent operating system just because Microsoft is pulling support. Even now, support for XP has not prevented hackers from going after users. Instead of new problems appearing when support disappears, current problems will likely be exacerbated.
Microsoft has been vocal about the need for XP users to upgrade or, if their PCs lack the horsepower to run a newer OS, replace their current computers. Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc earlier this year posted on a company blog -- a post that drew criticism -- that readers should help their friends and family switch to Windows 8.1.
"Today marks 60 days until the end of support for Windows XP and we need your help spreading the word to ensure people are safe and secure on modern up-to-date PCs." LeBlanc wrote."The easiest path to Windows 8.1 is with new devices, and there are offers and deals from many retailers to help people get a new device."
Other than the security issues, there are remarkably few things wrong with Windows XP, even at age 13. But as a result of its age, XP is not built to protect against more advanced attacks, and without any support or updates, there is an even greater potential for a significant attack to occur.
Avast has been outspoken about the risks associated with continuing to use XP. Avast COO Ondrej Vlcek published a blog post last month explaining how XP is now an obvious target for hackers and that people who are using the OS are at a high risk of attack.
"The vulnerable OS will be an easy target for hackers," Vlcek said, "and be seen as a gateway to infect other non-XP operating systems."