Security Patching For XP Service Pack 2 Ends Today

If you’re still using Windows XP SP2, you’re about to be on your own. Today Microsoft releases its final security update for Service Pack 2 (the 32-bit version, at least).

So what does that mean for your bordering-on-retro computer? From Computerworld:

Microsoft will not offer any security patches, no matter how severe the vulnerability, no matter what part of Windows or associated component is involved. No more Windows patches — and no more patches for Internet Explorer (IE), no patches for Windows Media Player, no patches for Outlook Express.

Computerworld notes that if you upgrade to Service Pack 3, you can continue to enjoy support until 2014. If you’re running SP2 on a 64-bit version of XP, you’ll keep getting SP2 support because there isn’t an SP3 available for you.

Otherwise, if you can’t or don’t want to upgrade to SP3, the website suggests you stop using Internet Explorer and look to Firefox for your browsing needs, since Mozilla seems likely to support SP2 until at least 2012. You should also stay on top of third-party security updates; Adobe’s Reader has become one of the most heavily exploited plug-ins in 2010.

“How to keep Windows XP SP2 safer after Microsoft stops patching” [Computerworld]


Edit Your Comment

  1. full.tang.halo says:

    Didn’t Computerworld report Microsoft will extend XP’s lifespan through 2020, as a result of 74 percent of work PCs still use Windows XP?

    –written from my Windows XP work machine :P

    • Dondegroovily says:

      Nope, it’s 2014. This is four years from now, most people will probably get new computers by then anyway.

      • Whtthfgg says:

        downgrade support for XP was extended to 2020

      • Moosehawk says:

        I have a 7 key from MSDN for being a student. I, for one, will continue using 64-bit XP as long as I possibly can though. I’m still not a fan of 7.

        • Gramin says:

          7 is AMAZING! Built a new computer and am running 7. I have XP at the office and 7 at home… oh how I hate my work computer. Or maybe that’s just because this machine is a piece of crap and my home PC would eat it for breakfast.

          Anywho, get 7. I think you’ll be happy once you start using it daily. That reminds me… I actually think my company is about to upgrade to 7. Vista didn’t pass our tests but we’re completely behind 7. Now I’m excited… even though my work PC still sucks balls. I would love to throw it out the window. These machines are so extremely crippled. And when 4:30 PM rolls around, they just quit working. It’s like they went home for the day and don’t want to do anything. Arg!!!

          • SuperNinjaâ„¢ says:

            The best thing I love about 7 is, whenever you are trying to find some setting, you just type in the search bar, and bam! there it is. It makes you wonder why they never did it before!

            • Gramin says:

              I know!!!! No more wandering around the computer searching for anything (programs, settings, files). It’s right there at your fingertips, just start typing. I really do love Windows 7. I’ve made a point to leave my desktop completely empty. The trash bin is there, but that’s it. Now that I can simply search for everything, I don’t need to throw shortcuts and other crap on my desktop so I can find it. LOVE LOVE LOVE Windows 7.

              • Whtthfgg says:

                But do you like Windows 7? not sure from post

              • DarthCoven says:

                Same here. Nothing but the recycle bin. Most used programs are pinned to task bar and everything else is two clicks away. 7 is a fantastic OS.

            • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

              What I particularly like about Windows 7 is the automatic hotkeys to your most used programs (the ones you’ve got pinned in the taskbar.) Hit Winkey-1 and in my case Firefox comes up. Winkey-2 and there’s Thunderbird. Can you do that with XP? Noooo….

            • ShadowFalls says:

              The computers the OS was marketed to was one of the reasons. They were too slow to process such a task seamlessly.

        • Gramin says:

          It depends on the company. For my large financial institution, it’s the security issues. Or rather, it was. We were never into Vista so we left XP on all the machines. Now that 7 is out and it’s performed wonderfully, it’s going to be installed later this year. I’m excited. I have 7 at home and love it. I’m sure they’ll cripple it here at the office, but it will still be nice to have it.

  2. the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

    I know it’s a pain in the ass to switch a businesses computers to a new OS (I’m an IT guy), but enough hemming and hawing. It’s what we get paid to do. There are plenty of tools that make it easier, so if you want to remain competitive and productive with the rest of the world, open up MS Project and lay the groundwork for your switch, write a cost-benefit analysis for those who control your budget, and get the hell to work.

    • SuperNinjaâ„¢ says:

      I don’t think it’s the IT pros resisting upgrades! In my experience it’s the management, or the users. Or, the $ just isn’t there.

      • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

        The bottom line is no user is going to quit their job because you change software, unless you fail to make training or documentation available. It’s only about the money. Yeah, users will complain and you’ll have more tech support issues for awhile, but at least it’s better than what issues you’ll face if you wait too long to upgrade.

        • quail says:

          I agree that those who wait too long face even worse upgrade issues. Windows7 is a good product and has decent backwards compatibility. The upgrade shouldn’t be too painful.

        • SunnyLea says:

          Yes, but who pays for it?

    • Tedicles says:

      It’s not that it is a pain in the ass, the problem is that everything is working fine for some (like mine) companies running XP. Then to shell out the cash for 150+ new 7 licenses, and deal with the support (the upgrades to the PCs are easy….older users are not!). So I certainly don’t want to ‘fix something that isn’t broken’ and then have to sit here for days getting calls about “Where is my internet button??” “Where is _______”

      No, if people/companies want to use XP, let them. I am also assuming that anyone could still download the SP3 patch and install it to keep getting MS upgrades anyway….

  3. Lolotehe says:

    I stopped using Adobe Reader three years ago when I discovered Foxit. I think it installs more quickly than Adobe takes to open a document.

    • JonStewartMill says:

      It also takes about 1/8th as much disk space when installed.

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      I use Sumatra. My boss even let me link the download on our website as an alternative to Adobe!

  4. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I guess I’ll have to get myself a new network card and upgrade. I can’t seem to make my D-link work with SP3. I hate having to “fix” something that isn’t broken.

    • SuperNinjaâ„¢ says:

      it’s a question of priorities, or preferences… I guess I would have spent the $20 and upgraded a long time ago.

  5. NarcolepticGirl says:

    Yeah, I’m still on SP2. But my PC finally kicked the can over the weekend after 9 years.
    So now I have to use one I got from work 2 years ago. It has Windows 2000, I think. Ha.

  6. AI says:

    Run SP3, and XP lives on!

  7. endless says:

    “at least the 32 bit version”

    there is a 64 bit version…. i think 5 people use it.

    i used it for about 5 months. then moved to vista then 7

  8. wagnerism says:

    No more updates to 32bit SP2. Isn’t SP3 is an update to SP2?

    SP3 is still supported and it appears that it will be supported for at least a few more years.

    I admittedly don’t know much about SP2 vs. SP3. What’s the problem with using SP3? Is it a good idea to be using the latest service pack for your OS of choice?

    I would expect that application and driver support for SP2 would have dried up long ago in favor of SP3.

    • WeirdJedi says:

      The article here didn’t seem very clear on the details. So Service Pack 2 ends and will no longer be updated, but Service Pack 3 continues on? I don’t get what the big deal is. It is like saying “You can run version 2.48 if you want. We won’t help you there, but you can download the new 3.12 if you want. We will keep working on that one.”

      There are probably software out there that only focus on Service Pack 2 or maybe Service Pack 3 has some issues. I don’t know. Maybe someone can make that a little more clear.

  9. Trick says:

    What are the reasons for not going to SP3?

    • VeganPixels says:

      For me, 16 hrs in a reboot loop.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        …er, maybe it’s time for a new computer then? SP3, IIRC–with a little help from Wikipedia, came out in May 2008, so I can’t see any reason why anyone still using Windows XP hasn’t upgraded yet from SP2. I know when SP3 first became available to my home PC, I had an issue with a particular driver, but that was soon fixed and all worked well from there. Mind you, I’ve since moved on from that machine and Windows XP. I’m still stuck using Windows XP at work, and man, what a pain it is to look at it now that I’ve been using Windows 7 for at least a year + (from the beta to the RC to the actual version. All sweet IMHO).

  10. yessongs says:

    Patches…. We don need no steekin’ Patches!!!

  11. c_c says:

    2014 … it’s kindof crazy to think some folks will be using a 15 year old OS. Windows 8 or beyond will be out by then. Imagine if 5 years ago you were still running Windows 3.1 or Mac OS System 7!

    • Rachacha says:

      It is strange, but I know of some installations for local machines controling some equipment that are still using Windows 3.1.1 for Workgroups. Granted these are dedicated use computers, and because it works in the application there was no need to upgrade and risk some incompatability, so in that case, you let sleeping dogs lie.

  12. quirkyrachel says:

    That’s ok. I have a Vista laptop that apparently according to Microsoft was never intended to carry Vista and cannot handle Vista SP1.

    • skapig says:

      Yeah…a lot of manufacturers quite deliberately sold under-powered machines sporting Vista. Often their pre-installed crapware would eat up a lot of resources on top of that. Running Vista on one of these underpowered machines is a painful exercise in frustration. As long as you have a reasonably decent machine (certainly not a big deal by today’s standards), it is a very smooth experience. These crap systems are what turned a lot of people off to Vista.

  13. skapig says:

    The chances of a negative impact from an upgrade to XP SP3 is probably pretty minimal. For the most part it’s just a roll-up of updates that have been pushed previously. There are some new bits in there. For consumers, it’s minor stuff. For the enterprise there are some new IT toys.

    Just like with any OS upgrade, there are bound to be issues. Usually these stem from third-party software being written or designed poorly.

  14. The Marionette says:

    That’s why I have service pack 3. If someone doesn’t want to upgrade to SP3 they could always just switch over to linux where it’s open-source and updates come out constantly for a long time. And if for some reason your version isn’t supported anymore you could migrate to a different version that’s still active (ie: slax to ubuntu). And since linux is getting more and more support there’s better and faster updates and it’s more beginner/windows-friendly. And dual-booting just makes it more the better since you can switch between os, use linux for work and windows for games. Regardless I’m a windows and linux fan

    • BurtReynolds says:

      This is mainly why I haven’t been motivated to bother even patching with SP3. Linux Mint installed with no problems on my Asus laptop with a dedicated Geforce card. No hunting for drivers or anything. I rarely find myself booting up XP these days. I might tonight to finally upgrade my iPod Touch’s software, but that is one of the few uses I have for it.

      If anything, I might wipe my HDD just to reinstall Linux and XP, with Linux having the larger partition.

  15. JonBoy470 says:

    Fairly amazing to me that M$ has been brow-beaten into providing support for an OS for almost 15 years after its initial release.

    Honestly, XP has been kind of the least common denominator OS for some time now. It offered advances in stability, out-of-the-box support for now-common hardware (Wifi and bluetooth) and (eventually) security that made it a compelling upgrade from any previous version of Windows.

    Vista, on the other hand, was a bucket of fail. Windows 7 is today what Vista should have been, and is advanced enough, and stable and secure enough, that there’s no compelling reason NOT to get it for most people. That said, for most, there’s no compelling reason to upgrade an existing PC unless that PC has died.