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Microsoft Says Patching Windows XP Was an Exception

Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc posted a notice on the Windows Experience Blog reporting that Windows XP customers will no longer receive security or non-security updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Update. He likely made this clarification due to Microsoft patching Windows XP at the beginning of May, just weeks after Microsoft pulled the plug on the Windows XP platform, and outside the company's typical Patch Tuesday schedule.

"Last week, we released a security update outside of our normal Update Tuesday cycle that fixes a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 as well as Windows XP," LeBlanc writes. "We made the decision to extend the update to all Windows XP customers based on the proximity to the established end of support date of April 8th for Windows XP. This was an exception, however, the Windows XP end of support policy still remains in place moving forward."

He goes on to admit that Microsoft has set up custom support agreements with some enterprise customers. These customers will temporarily receive security updates for Windows XP to help keep the platform safe and secure while they migrate to a newer platform such as Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Everyone else is essentially out of luck and need to jump off the Windows XP train soon.

"Because support has ended for Windows XP, we are no longer releasing updates to the general public for Windows XP going forward," LeBlanc writes. "If you continue to use Windows XP without support, your computer will still likely work but will become vulnerable to security risks and over time its performance will be affected."

He concluded the blog by explaining why Microsoft no longer supports the platform with security patches. Basically, he says that Windows XP is over ten years old. The days when it ruled the PC market are long gone, replaced by Windows 8.1 Update.

"The threats that we face today from a security standpoint outpace our ability to protect our customers still on Windows XP," he writes. "Our modern operating systems today provide more safety and security than ever before."

Security experts have said over the past several years that hackers will likely study the patches Microsoft dishes out each month to see what was fixed in the newer platforms. They'll likely attempt to take advantage of those vulnerabilities that may also be lurking in Windows XP and Office 2003. However, the install base is slowly shrinking, but is it shrinking fast enough?