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What if some machines still use Microsoft Windows XP after support ends April 8?

Ask Control Engineering blog: After April 8, Microsoft support for Windows XP ends. If you're still using it on April 9, there are extra precautions.

April 04, 2014


Ask Control Engineering: Some machines I have still need to use Microsoft Windows XP after support ends on April 8, 2014. What can I do?

A: After April 8, Microsoft support for Windows XP ends. If you're still using it on April 9, there are precautions, according to Dennis Brandl, president of BR&L Consulting, in Cary, N.C. He writes "Engineering and IT Insight" for Control Engineering.

Unless Microsoft outsources Windows XP support to an independent third party to provide Lifetime Support XP (lsXP), then "unfortunately, there is no easy answer to the upcoming loss of support for Windows XP," Brandl said. 

Without that, "There are only three things to remember to keep your XP systems running: protect, protect, and protect. With zero day attacks continually being discovered, many that affect operating systems and services, there will be an ongoing need to protect your XP systems from infection. This means stronger firewall rules, stronger password rules, severely limited outside access, white listing tools, root kit inspections, tightly constrained external device (USB, CD) connections, and additional security training for system users.

"These systems will become more expensive to maintain and replace. This is the hidden future cost of using commercial software on systems that have lifetimes of 15-30 years. If this is not a wakeup call for vendors to take a long, hard look at the systems they use for their systems, then it is a wakeup call for end users to demand software that lasts as long as the hardware," Brandl said.

Read more from Brandl on the end of Microsoft Windows XP support; see linked related article about process control system reliability, Control Engineering cyber security training series, and links below.

Send your questions, with "Ask Control Engineering" in the subject line, to ControlEng(at)cfemedia.com. 

- Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.