I can just imagine millions of voices crying out in extreme pleasure in response to the news that Google has extended support for Chrome on Windows XP through to the end of the year (it was previously due to end later this month).

The only problem with that, however, is that fact that it implies there are still a large number of users on Microsoft’s now aging operating system (industry experts suggest anywhere between 10 and 20 percent of all machines still use XP).

While Windows XP was pretty darn good back in the day, and a huge improvement on its successor(!), it is, as Monty Python may say, deceased, dead and long since ceased to be.

Alas, many millions of users are still dicing with antiquity on a daily basis, continuing to run the operating system that refuses to pass on, despite the fact that Microsoft stopped supporting the consumer edition in 2009 and the enterprise version back in April 2014.

That lack of ongoing support means anyone continuing to use Windows XP has problems. Unless you run a company of some fair size and have handed over a large stack of cash to Microsoft in return for special treatment – and why would you throw your organisation’s money away thus – you will be up the swanny in terms of getting any kind of protection against new strains of malware and viruses, or any other kind of support.

As Mark Larson, Director of Engineering, Google Chrome, says in a post announcing the extension of support for Chrome:

Computers running Windows XP haven’t received security patches in over a year and are facing a number of critical security vulnerabilities. At the operating system level, computers running XP are inherently in danger of being infected by malware and viruses, making it increasingly difficult for Chrome to provide a secure browsing environment. That’s why we strongly encourage everyone to update to a supported, secure operating system.

Sage advice indeed.

And something you would be well advised to take on board.

As Larson says, not everyone can afford to upgrade to a newer operating system on a regular basis and Chrome wants to keep Windows XP users as safe as possible, but there will come a time when that becomes impossible, given the financial costs of further development for something that should already be defunct.

So, if you are running Microsoft’s old operating system at home, start saving for something newer (it looks like Windows 10 may be relatively cheap or even free for some users), or explore some of the free operating systems, such as Linux, which will keep you far safer from harm.

And, if you are running Windows XP machines in a corporate environment, now is a pretty darn good time to go have a word with whoever controls the purse strings in your firm because such an ancient operating system has no place in a world where malware, data breaches and other threats are far more common than any of us care to think about.

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