Following the news that it is reliant on a large collection of Windows XP machines, the UK Metropolitan Police has admitted that it is looking to create an independent arrangement with Microsoft that provides at least one more year of continued support.
The Met is running a significant network of XP machines, and could potentially be putting its systems at risk of security problems with no formal support. In a statement it said that it is looking to resolve this, and is attempting to make its own deal with the Redmond company and let the wider government settle its own case.
It admitted that it is in the process of moving users onto XP, but added that it needs more time, and is currently engaged with talks with Microsoft about such an extension.
"The MPS has an active upgrade programme to move users onto the latest released windows 8.1. operating system," it said.
"However, since Windows XP support will still be required the MPS has requested a direct option with Microsoft to continue a Custom Support Agreement for Windows XP for the next 12 months. This is currently being negotiated directly with Microsoft."
News site Motherboard uncovered the 35,000 figure through a Freedom of Information request that came a few weeks after the one year deadline for the end of XP support was passed, when it was revealed that 16.94 percent of machines are still running XP.
"We have currently got 35,640 desktop and laptop computers running windows XP across all departments within the Metropolitan Police," reads the published response.
More detailed information was asked for, including data on which parts of the organisation use the machines, but this was not forthcoming.
"This is because many systems are shared and do not necessarily belong to an individual. Metropolitan Police Service colleagues are able to hot desk between buildings," said the force.
Microsoft has a real problem getting people off Windows XP and gave users a deadline of 8 April 2014 by which to upgrade. The fact that the Met is an ongoing user should not perhaps be too much of a surprise.
The UK government has been an obvious XP laggard and reportedly paid Microsoft £5.5m to provide a one-year support extension for public sector organisations still using XP.
That deal lasted until 5 April 2015 so is presumably under discussion. V3 has asked Microsoft for the most up-to-date information on the situation and is awaiting clarification on some points.
The lingering use of the ageing operating system has come in for strong criticism in Japan, after it was discovered that XP runs on 48,000 computers at the Tokyo Electric Power Company which runs the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
"Upgrading the operating system must be done as swiftly as possible, and the firm must not push it back, given the security risks," said the Board of Audit of Japan as it reminded the facility of its responsibilities.
The Japanese firm has agreed to a swift upgrade process.
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