Tag: Windows XP

Too much Windows XP in Eastern Europe

299x224xUse-of-Windows-XP-makes-European-ATMs-vulnerable-to-malware-attacks_300x225.jpg.pagespeed.ic.ZXCGt0zGDNA year after Vole killed off support for Windows XP there are still far too many machines using the out-of-date software – particularly in Eastern Europe.

According to a report by Bitdefender, companies are refusing to let it go, leaving themselves  wide open for malware attacks.

Ukraine tops the list of those who still can’t let go, with 41.2 per cent of businesses and public computers. Hungary and Romania closely follow, garnering 37.5 per cent  and 34 per cent , respectively.

Runners-up are Poland with 24.05%, Republic of Moldova at 18.7 per cent  , and Slovakia at 10.61 per cent . Other countries who made the list are Bulgaria, with six per cent. The Czech Republic has 4.7 per cent.

Liviu Arsene, threat analyst for Bitdefender said that some were using Windows XP because of legacy issues with proprietary applications and systems. Some internal software on company’s systems has not been updated, which in result makes them incompatible with newer OSes, like Windows 7 and 8.1.

Arsene said it was jolly dangerous as the Windows XP machines could be a gateway for hackers to infiltrate a computer. “Migrating to a more recent version won’t just add features, it will also increase security,” Arsene said.

He foresees Windows XP’s usage to further dwindle globally and in the Europe in the future, as he believes that the security implications of staying with XP can no longer be ignored.

PC sales plummeted in the second quarter

IBM PCOnly 68.4 million PC units shipped in the second quarter of this year, and that’s a 9.5 percent drop from the same quarter last year.

According to figures compiled by Gartner, that’s the steepest fall since the third quarter of 2013 and it believes that shipments overall in 2015 will fall by 4.4 percent.

The market research company believes there are many factors to explain the drop and that the decline is just a temporary blip.

One the reasons for the decline is that the US dollar rose sharply against certain local currencies. The second reason for the decline is that Microsoft dropping support for Windows XP forced many enterprises to buy their PCs last year.

And there’s so much stock swilling around in the channel that the vendors aren’t shipping PCs in the built up to the launch of Microsoft Windows 10.

The three top players – Lenovo, HP and Dell – all showed declines of 6.8 percent, 9.5 percent and 4.9 percent respectively.

Desktops showed a big decline in the USA, said Gartner. And, in EMEA, the overall PC decline amounted to 15.7 percent in the second quarter, aggregated by overstocking.

UK government puts PCs at risk

Microsoft campusThe UK government has decided not to renew a service agreement with Microsoft for continuing support of Windows XP computers and that means thousands of machines will be vulnerable to hacking.

According to the Guardian, last year the government paid £5.5 million to continue supporting Windows XP computers and its own digital unit said XP machines will now be exploitable.

While the government stumped up for extended support last year, each department is now expected to make its own deal with Microsoft for patches and the like.

The government has pledged to upgrade its Windows machines but some have made slow progress and there may be an understandable reluctance to move to Windows 8.1, given that Windows 10 will arrive this year.

Despite the fact that the situation is patchy, the Guardian report said that departments have been sternly told not to use unsupported software.

Apple keeps the lead in PCs

IBM PCThere was a time when Apple was an also ran in the PC market.

But a report from market research company Canalys, at the end of last week, said those days are over.

Reporting on the global PC market, which it defines as including tablets, said sales saw a decline of seven percent in the first quarter of this year. Apple was first, but it saw a 16 percent drop in its PC shipments but has a 15 percent share overall.

Lenovo and HP came second and third while Samsung came fourth and Dell fifth, with an 8.2 percent market share.

Canalys PC market share 2015Tim Coulling, a senior analyst at Canalys, said that global players are struggling with exchange rate fluctuations. “These challenges, combined with a softening of demand as Windows 10 draws nearer along with Microsoft’s free upgrade plans, means PC market declines will be greater in the second quarter than the first,” he said.

Desktop shipments fell by 13 percent and has lost ground because XP migration is a thing of the past. Canalys expects “significant” shipment declines this year compared to last year.

The notebook market in the first quarter showed a decline of four percent, with Canalys claiming that Microsoft’s Windows with Bing programme has been causing significant pile up in the distribution channel. Rushabh Doshi, a Canalys analyst, said: “Any price rises for Windows notebooks will play into the hands of Google which is making strides in improving Chrome OS for both consumers and businesses.”

The decline in the tablet market was nine percent worldwide, but Samsung and Apple saw double digit shipment declines.

Cameron leaves government computers open to hackers

 David-Cameron-at-the-EU-s-007While David “One is an Ordinary Bloke” Cameron is trying to save children from internet perils with censorship he is opening up government computer systems to hackers by starving them for cash on upgrades.

Countless government computers are still using Windows XP under a £5.5 million contract with Microsoft to prevent them getting hacked.  Now it seems that Cameron’s government has decided that it is too expensive to keep paying Microsoft for the upgrades and simply hopes that no hackers will attack the systems.

This is the first time that prayer based security has been attempted in Whitehall and is being seen as cheaper than upgrading the ancient computers.

The government has not renewed its £5.5 million Windows XP support deal with Microsoft despite thousands of computers across Whitehall still running the ancient software, leaving them wide open to cyber-attacks.

The contract was negotiated last year between Microsoft and the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which is part of the Cabinet Office, to provide one year’s additional support after the general support deadline for XP expired.

To be fair, the CCS made it plain at the time that it would not renew the deal, and urged all departments to ensure that they migrated in time.

Of course they didn’t and many government departments are still in the process of migrating, or are still running Windows XP and risking the inherent security threats.

No one is able to talk about it because everything is shut down with the election.  Microsoft has confirmed that the deal will end on 14 April 2015.

Microsoft will not offer more custom support deals, and the company said that this might be an option for any department still struggling to migrate. It will just have to be for the new government to decide.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is currently negotiating a support deal after it was revealed that the organisation still has 35,000 laptops and desktops running XP.

What this suggests is that for all Cameron’s banging on about internet security, and protection, under his watch the security at Whitehall has dropped down the loo, just as his surveillance of ordinary citizens and internet censorship has escalated.

Microsoft optimistic about Windows 10 future

Microsoft campusSoftware giant Microsoft appears to believe that a billion devices will be running the next version of its operating system, Windows 10.

That’s according to Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s VP in charge of operating systems and speaking at the Build conference in San Francisco.

Microsoft has still not announced a formal date for the release of Windows 10. Some have speculated it may be available to its partners at the end of July while others say it is likely to be released in September.

Microsoft’s current operating system, Windows 8.1, has failed to gain many plaudits and the company is missing out the title of Windows 9 as part of a marketing move to convince people that 10 is much better than eight. Many people are running Windows XP, even though Microsoft rather shamelessly dropped support for the OS. Others stay happy with Windows 7.

Myserson’s prediction of a billion devices in the next couple of years may not be far from the truth – the company now pursues a more open policy than in the past and wants Windows 10 to be on all sorts of devices, from mobile phones to tablets as well as PCs. CEO Satya Nadella is also engaged in diversifying the company’s offering – formerly it relied heavily on operating systems and Office software to make bucks.

Myserson also said in his keynote that it will make it easier for software engineers to port apps for Apple’s iOS and Android operating systems to Windows.

Windows 10 builds on the lessons that Microsoft seems to have learned from its Windows 8 debacle and will bring many of the features in Windows 7 back to the operating system party.

Windows 10 to arrive at the end of July. Maybe

AMD logoThe CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) appears to have spilled the beans on the date Windows 10 will be introduced.

At last week’s conference call to discuss AMD’s rather dismal earnings,CEO Lisa Su said that Windows 10 will arrive at the end of July.

Whether that’s the due date is a different matter – typically as one of Microsoft’s partners, AMD is likely to get advance notice of the introduction.

Windows 10 was originally supposed to launch in Autumn and that could still be on the cards.

It takes some time for Microsoft to prime its channel and its market partners with product – typically an introduction in September is more likely to catch the back to school wave.

However, Windows 10 is already late and it’s entirely feasible it is bringing the date forward.

Microsoft is hoping for big things from Windows 10 after Windows 8.x was greeted with an air of indifference by many because of its design. Microsoft is going back to basics and it hopes people will like Windows 10 as much as they liked Windows 7 and Windows XP, and it hopes people will not dislike the next operating system as much as they disliked Vista and Windows 8.x.

University formats every computer by mistake

A private research university in metropolitan Atlanta, Emory University stuffed up a Windows 7 roll-out in a tragedy of biblical proportions.

Everyone knows that when you install a new operating system, that message comes up and asks you if you want to reformat you old hard-drive. It seems that Emory University, which has proudly been running Windows XP since the university was founded in 1836, really did not have a clue when it came to these “new fangled” operating systems.

During the roll out a Windows 7 deployment image was accidently sent to all Windows machines, including laptops, desktops, and even servers.

This image started with a repartition/reformat set of tasks. As soon as the accident was discovered, the SCCM server was powered off – however, by that time, the SCCM server itself had been repartitioned and reformatted.

The fallout was quite dramatic, but could have been worse.  The deployed image included a number of key applications such as Office, other such as Visio and Project required manual installation which meant that not everything was over written.

According to WinBeta,   IT technicians worked through the night to restore “mission critical” computers to help speed up the process of getting others systems back up and running.

All told, the clean-up took a couple of days from start to finish, although there is still some work to be done to get all system fully operational again. It is not clear how much of everything was backed up as different sources say different things.

Windows XP is finally a Norwegian Blue

Software giant Microsoft has finally pulled the plug on its most successful product and said that it will not support Windows XP any more.

The support deadline for Windows XP support means millions of machines worldwide are at risk from security threats. The writing has been on the wall for XP for years. However, Microsoft has been unsuccessfully trying to wean its users off their addiction to the OS. The latest figures show that nearly a quarter of the world’s PCs still run XP.

It has been a pretty long run. The operating system was released to manufacturing on August 24, 2001 and development was started in the late 1990s.

Prototype code was nicknamed named “Neptune” and was an operating system built on the Windows NT kernel which was intended for consumers. An updated version of Windows 2000 was also originally planned for the business market. In January 2000, both projects were shelved in favour of a single OS codenamed “Whistler”. This meant that the OS could be used in both business and consumer environments.

It introduced a significantly redesigned graphical user interface and was the first version of Windows to use product activation in an effort to reduce software piracy. Given it was pirated to oblivion you see how that worked out.

Windows XP also proved to be popular among users; by January 2006, over 400 million copies of Windows XP were in use and was the most widely used operating system until August 2012, when Windows 7 overtook it

The much-extended deadline falls on the same day as Patch Tuesday, giving Vole a chance to release updates for the platform. However, after that there will be no more updates for those without custom support.

One of those with a custom support agreement is the UK government, which has paid Vole £5.5 million to keep public sector organisations covered. The Dutch government also signed a similar deal.

For the rest of the world it will be a great time to target XP systems because there will be no protection short of virus checkers. 

Microsoft extends Window XP’s life

Software giant Microsoft will provide updates to its security products  – antimalware engine and signatures – for Windows XP users until July 14, 2015.

This means that XP will get another year’s life. Previously, the company said it would halt all updates on the same day as the end of support date for Windows XP April 8, 2014.

This means that Microsoft Security Essentials will continue to get updates after full support ends for Windows XP. For enterprise customers, the same goes for System Centre Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection, and Windows Intune running on Windows XP.

Microsoft is still ending technical assistance for Windows XP on April 8 and will stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date.

But updates to its security products for an additional 15 months should keep many people still using XP interested it keeping that way. After all, while Windows XP will no longer be a supported operating system come April, companies will be at least partially protected until a year after July.

Vole has been trying to get people away from Windows XP to “better” products, and the best way to do that is to stick to its end of support date. On the other hand, there are still so many millions of Windows XP users out there that leaving them completely vulnerable could cause more harm than good.