Windows XP Final Fixes Released

Today’s security updates from Microsoft include a final fix for Windows XP and Office 2003. Today marks the end of an era. Windows XP was first rolled out in 2001 and was the most widely adopted operating system.

As users migrate to the newer operating systems, there will still be some organizations and individuals who run older systems and can’t yet upgrade. As a result, organizations will continue to struggle with left-over Windows XP boxes on their networks, leaving them open to vulnerabilities and exploits. The market for exploits will therefore remain into the foreseeable future and it is recommended to keep network-based intrusion prevention solutions tuned to blocking exploits, even those against Windows XP.

If you must run a Windows XP-based system, disconnect it from the Internet. Keep in mind that not only will Windows XP be retired, but all the software running on that system, such as Internet Explorer and Word 2003 will no longer be updated for Windows XP. Run up-to-date anti-virus software

If you are still running Windows XP and want to figure out what to do now, this article has some helpful tips for the current Windows XP user.

Reminder: Windows XP Support Ends

MSFT_logo_pngJust another reminder that after April 8, 2014, a week from today, Microsoft will no longer supply security patches for machines running Windows XP.

IS&T recommends that users of Windows XP upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.

Read the details here.

OUCH! Newsletter on Windows XP De-Support

The March issue of OUCH! explains why Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on April 8th.  Learn what this means to people and the steps they can take to protect themselves. Please download and share OUCH! with others.

Download the Issue (PDF)

Microsoft Offers Tool to XP Users to Assist with Upgrade

MSFT_logo_pngMicrosoft is ending support for its popular operating system Windows XP on April 8; after that date, there will be no more security updates, leaving users vulnerable to flaws.

Starting this month, Microsoft offers a free migration tool called “PCmover Express” to help XP users ease their transition to a newer, more secure version of Windows. It copies files, music, email and user profiles and settings from a Windows XP computer to a new device running Windows 7, 8 or 8.1.  It provides transferring across a home or work network and allows users to customize exactly what they bring over. The free version does not migrate applications, but the maker of PCmover Express (Laplink) makes a migration app called PCmover Professional for XP Users which will transfer an unlimited number of applications to a new machine. It is being offered at a discounted price.

In addition, starting March 8, XP users using the Home or Professional editions who have elected to receive updates via Windows Update, will see pop-ups reminding them of the impending deadline. The notification will link to Microsoft’s End of Support website where users will find the free PCmover Express software (available some time later this week), all the information they need on what end of support means, and how they can stay protected against security risks and viruses after April 8th.

Read the full story at Microsoft’s blog here.

Reminder: Windows XP and Office 2003 Soon De-Supported

In less than four months, Windows XP and Office 2003 will no longer be supported by Microsoft and the Windows Update services. MIT Information Services & Technology (IS&T) has also announced its de-support plan of Windows XP.

This means that if your computer is still running Windows XP and Office 2003 by April 8, 2014, it will no longer receive security updates. Security updates prevent flaws in the software code from being exploited by attackers. Software that is up to date with the latest patches is much less likely to be vulnerable to an attack.

Office 2003 includes SharePoint 2003, Visio 2003 and Project 2003. Exchange Server 2003 is also being de-supported.

Content Management Server 2002 will no longer be supported after April 8, 2014 and Microsoft XML Core Services 4.0 will no longer be supported after April 12, 2014.

It is recommended to upgrade as soon as possible. IS&T recommends users upgrade to Windows 7. Here are the guidelines for a Windows 7 migration.

NOTE: If you have a new machine, IS&T now offers full support for the business-class versions of Windows 8. Note that there are still some known issues with using Windows 8 in the MIT environment, such as PGP Desktop is not supported. These issues are reported on the Windows 8 Enterprise page.

Microsoft Reissues Problematic Updates

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Microsoft has reissued several security updates to address a detection problem. The updates, which were part of a batch released on Tuesday, September 10, were not able to detect whether or not they had already been installed on users’ computers and continued to offer themselves to install.

Customers also reported that some of the updates were not offered through Windows Server Update Services or System Center Configuration Manager.

Microsoft has released new versions of the affected updates to fix these problems.

Learn more about installing Microsoft Updates on Windows 7 or Windows 8.

NOTE: Updates for Windows XP Service Pack 3 machines will no longer be available after April 8, 2014, and as a result IS&T has begun to phase out support for Windows XP. IS&T recommends you upgrade to Windows 7 now to avoid problems later.

Microsoft Warns About Dangers of Not Migrating From XP

For months now, Microsoft is telling Windows XP users that there will be no more updates for Windows XP Service Pack 3 after April 8, 2014.

A recent Security Blog post from Microsoft Director of Trustworthy Computing Tim Rains warns that while XP SP3 was state of the art when it was released, the measures employed are no longer sufficient to block current attacks. Once support for XP ends, hackers will be able reverse engineer updates to see if XP is vulnerable to the vulnerabilities they address; while newer versions of Windows will be patched, XP will not be, putting users at direct risk of attack.

Information Services & Technology is in the final phase of terminating support for XP users at MIT.

The recommendation is to migrate to Windows 7 (with SP1) via a clean install versus an upgrade, as soon as possible.

See the schedule and details for the termination of Windows XP support by IS&T.