Users of Windows XP are now even more at risk from security vulnerabilities after Microsoft ended the final remnants of support for the platform.
Full support for XP ended on 8 April 2014, but Microsoft said it would maintain support for the Malicious Software Removal Tool and updates to the Security Essentials programme until 14 July 2015.
"The Malicious Software Removal Tool and updates to Microsoft Security Essentials will continue to be provided for Windows XP through 14 July 2015," the firm said at the time.
This date has now passed and no updates for XP will be provided for anyone other than those with costly support contracts with Microsoft, such as the Metropolitan Police Service.
Microsoft has been urging people to move away from XP for many years, even before the main support for XP ended. The Security Essentials page confirms that this level of support has now ended too.
"We strongly recommend that you complete your migration to a supported operating system as soon as possible so that you can receive regular security updates to help protect your computer from malicious attacks," Microsoft said.
Despite the risk of using Windows XP there are estimated to be some 180 million machines still running the ancient software, based on the most recent data from the Netmarketshare website (shown below).
Security expert Graham Cluley urged anyone still using XP to take this latest news as further proof that it is time to leave the platform and move on.
“My best recommendation is to stop using Windows XP entirely, especially if your XP computer is connected to the internet. Simply finding an alternative anti-virus to run on Windows XP can only be considered a stop-gap, as the updates will not continue indefinitely,” he said.
“Instead upgrade to a more recent, properly supported version of Windows or switch to an alternative operating system.”
The news comes amid numerous security warnings related to another stalwart of the tech industry. Adobe's Flash tool is coming under increasing pressure as new flaws come to light that put users at risk of being hacked.
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