Microsoft: Windows XP anti-malware support to last into 2015

Although the software giant will stop providing updates to the venerable OS this April, it will keep offering anti-malware updates until July 2015.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
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Microsoft plans to stop supporting Windows XP this April, but will continue to offer anti-malware updates through July 2015. Microsoft

Microsoft said Wednesday that although it will stop supporting Windows XP this April, it will continue providing anti-malware updates for the venerable OS through July of next year.

"Microsoft has announced the Windows XP end of support date of April 8, 2014," the software giant said in a blog post. "After this date, Windows XP will no longer be a supported operating system. To help organizations complete their migrations, Microsoft will continue to provide updates to our anti-malware signatures and engine for Windows XP users through July 14, 2015. This does not affect the end-of-support date of Windows XP, or the supportability of Windows XP for other Microsoft products, which deliver and apply those signatures."

Of course, Microsoft really wants customers to upgrade their operating systems. While it will still do what it can for the time being to help those people keep their computers from being infected with malware, it didn't mince words in suggesting people use a newer operating system. Windows XP ceased being the company's main OS in 2008.

"Our research shows that the effectiveness of anti-malware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited," Microsoft wrote. "Running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today's threat landscape."

Some worry, though, that Microsoft is leaving some of its customers in a vulnerable position. "Security experts may be quick to point out that this sends mixed messages to users," wrote BetaNews. "In other words, it may lull users into a false sense of security. By having updated malware definitions, but unpatched exploits, the user is not fully secure."