Windows XP may be the longest running operating system version ever from Microsoft, but on April 8, 2014 support for the decade-plus OS ends. After this date, no further security updates will be made available, pushing the expiring software into a state of 'zero day forever.' It will be like the movie Groundhog Day, except in real life.
Windows XP has had some life, though, supplying computing services for many millions of people in all areas of life and business. After almost 14 years, I'm sure everyone has fond memories, as well as, horror stories they could share. Windows XP has probably racked up more Blue Screens of Death (BSOD) than any other operating system version. I'm sure if the Guinness Book of World Records provided the category, Windows XP would keep the top spot until the end of known humanity. 100 years from now, when future archaeologists dig through our ancient records and calculate how long we actually lived with a constantly blue-screening, unsecure OS, I'm positive they'll consider us to be archaic and a severely undeveloped culture.
But, it makes me a bit sad that we can count down the end-of-days through the number of Patch Tuesdays that are left. Only 3 months and who knows how many patches. That gives Microsoft only a short time to secure Windows XP as much as possible for those that will be not be able to upgrade prior to the deadline.
With the impending doom of Windows XP so close, each Patch Tuesday becomes that much more important for those who can't upgrade before the deadline, for one reason or another.
January's Patch Tuesday brought a critical, reported fix to Windows XP and also, potentially, an unreported one. A glaring problem has been affecting Windows XP for a long time where SVCHOST pegs the CPU to 100% during Windows Updates. With Windows XP being slow already, and running on old, outdated hardware in most cases, the issue has been almost show-stopping. Toward the end of 2013, Microsoft took a couple months of Patch Tuesdays to attempt to fix the problem, with no success. And, then in December, Microsoft's Doug Neal explained the situation and ensured customers that Microsoft was determined to fix it once and for all before the Windows XP expiration.
Per reports from the Patch Management email list, it appears that the problem may finally be fixed. Microsoft has made no statements as to any established action to fix it, possibly to watch community comments, but the reports are good so far.
This just highlights how important it is to stay patched and how extremely important it is to make sure to take advantage of the limited number of Patch Tuesdays that are left for Windows XP. Once April 8, 2014 hits, you're on your own. Many of you are already migrated to Windows 7, but there are those who will be continually adding to our human record and confounding archaeologists everywhere in the future.