Microsoft is ready if not incredibly eager to put Windows XP, the operating system from the early 2000s that went on to dominate laptops and desktops, behind it. That’s why the company originally announced that it would end all support of the operating system and the tools device owners use as an excuse to continue on using it in April. Microsoft is now backtracking slightly on that original deadline, saying that it will extend security support for the operating system a bit longer.
Today, Microsoft announced that it would continue to provide updates to Windows XP’s version of Microsoft Security Essentials. That’s the malware and antivirus program that Microsoft makes available for free to users with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
It’ll also continue updating the virus client’s engine so that devices with it installed have a better chance of holding up against the onslaught of dangerous code that currently makes running Windows XP so risky.
Unfortunately for users who refuse to upgrade to a more modern operating system or those who simply can’t, Microsoft is only extending Windows XP’s Security Essentials support until July 14, 2015. After that users and businesses will be on their own.
Microsoft has been encouraging users to upgrade their operating system or buy new Windows devices that don’t run Windows XP for years. Even still, a very large number of users and business continue to run the operating system on their desktops, laptops and work stations.
To be clear, Microsoft is only promising that it’ll continue to update Security Essentials to keep users safe. It hasn’t gone back on its decision to stop providing feature updates to the operating system itself. Microsoft stopped selling versions of Windows XP in 2008, seven years after it started coming pre-installed on most of the world’s computers. For comparison, it’s been 12 years since Microsoft’s partners started selling devices equipped with Windows XP. Microsoft typically ends support for versions of Windows at the 10 year mark.
Windows XP users who don’t have Microsoft Security Essentials installed on their PC should download it from the company’s site as soon possible. Microsoft confirmed that it will no longer allow Windows XP users to download Security Essentials beyond April 8th to ZDNet.