Microsoft has announced it will continue offering anti-malware updates to Windows XP users until July 2015, over a year after it officially cuts support for the decade-old operating system.
Microsoft revealed its plans to prolong anti-malware support for XP in a post on its Threat and Response blog, confirming that the move is an interim solution designed to help businesses securely migrate their systems to run a newer Windows version.
"To help organisations complete their migrations, Microsoft will continue to provide updates to our anti-malware signatures and engine for Windows XP users through 14 July 2015. This does not affect the end-of-support date of Windows XP, or the supportability of Windows XP for other Microsoft products, which deliver and apply those signatures," read the post.
"Our goal is to provide great anti-malware solutions for our consumer and business customers. We will continue to work with our customers and partners in doing so, and help our customers complete their migrations as Windows XP end of life approaches."
For enterprise Windows XP users the extension applies to several critical security services including Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection and Windows Intune running on Windows XP.
The move is a backtrack by Microsoft, which announced plans to pull support for its Security Essentials anti-malware tool from XP earlier in January.
Microsoft warned that even with the extended support, Windows XP users will still be at significant risk after the official April cut-off.
"Our research shows that the effectiveness of anti-malware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited. Running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today's threat landscape," read the post.
The announcement follows widespread outcries from the XP community regarding the support cut-off. Despite being a decade old, many businesses and companies still prefer XP to newer Windows versions and view the cut-off as a tactic by Microsoft designed to force them to adopt Windows 8.
"Microsoft can force me off XP but, there is no way they can force me into the abomination that is Windows 8. It's past time I converted all my computers to Linux," wrote one particularly angered V3 reader.
The announcement follows the discovery of several vulnerabilities in Windows XP. Microsoft issued fixes for an "important" vulnerability in Windows XP as a part of its regular Patch Tuesday earlier this week.
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