Just last week I wrote about Microsoft’s change of heart to provide antimalware signatures for Windows XP by extending the operating system’s support from Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). In Microsoft Changes Its Mind about Security Essentials for Windows XP, the company reversed a decision made just the week before.

Windows XP support ends on April 8, 2014. Once that date hits Microsoft will stop providing security and operating system updates. That’s it. No more. Kaput. Finale. The End.

But, Microsoft understands that many some are stuck with Windows XP after the drop-dead date for a number of reasons beyond their control. Most companies are currently embroiled in some phase of migration, with the majority of companies migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (not Windows 8). Recent stats show that Windows XP still has almost a 22% install base. Microsoft is at a point in time where they will not change their mind about Windows XP, but they can help in small ways to ensure those still using Windows XP are not without proper tools to handle security attacks. The biggest risk of using Windows XP after the deadline is exposing the business to targeted attacks against an already unsecure operating system version.

In addition to extending Security Essentials support to July 14, 2015, Microsoft recently stated that the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) will also continue to be supported, ending on the same day as MSE support. MSRT is not a real-time, antimalware detection and removal utility like MSE, but instead is the tool customers use after PCs have already been attacked. Running MSRT against an infected Windows XP can, most times, remove the infection.

MSRT is available from this link: Malicious Software Removal Tool

The MSRT engine currently sits at version 5.8, and the detection files are updated each month during Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday cycle. It runs on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 computers, and has an entire Microsoft.com property dedicated to it where you can learn how to use it, research currently reported malicious software entries and receive security support.

The web site is located here: Malicious Software Removal Tool in the Safety & Security Center