Jun 05 2014

Windows XP Past Its Prime, Despite Reports of New Updates

When a reported fix to the venerable, unsupported operating system isn't exactly a fix.

Much has been written about how important it is for organizations to migrate away from using Microsoft's outdated Windows XP operating system, which the company ceased supporting earlier this year.

Still, many businesses have been either reluctant or unable to move beyond the OS that has run their computers for up to 12 years. Yes, a large number of firms jumped ship before Microsoft ended support, but plenty of stragglers remain.

Debunking a Faulty Fix

So there was some excitement last week when a possible loophole emerged — a way of tricking Windows Update into thinking Windows XP running on a PC is really Windows Embedded Industry, running on, say, a retail point-of-sale device. Microsoft plans to support Windows Embedded until 2019.

In theory, those who put off upgrading could rest easy. Their XP installations would still receive important updates — or so some thought until Microsoft dispelled the workaround as a "hack."

"The security updates that could be installed are intended for Windows Embedded and Windows Server 2003 customers and do not fully protect Windows XP customers," Microsoft said in response to posts that described the workaround. "Windows XP customers also run a significant risk of functionality issues with their machines if they install these updates, as they are no tested against Windows XP."

It turns out that April 8 deadline for the end of XP support was real, and this solution is, at best, a last-minute, unreliable fix. Think of it as a strip of duct tape, while an upgrade to one of Microsoft's more modern operating systems is the long-term fix to what ails your businesses' computers.

Still unsure of the steps you can take to kick-start a belated upgrade to Windows 8? Our infographic on the Windows Migration Trail is a great place to start, and CDW has its own detailed recommendations on how to ensure your computers are up to speed.