Windows XP support ends next week, but 28 percent of web users are still using it


After supporting the operating system with updates for twelve years, Microsoft is issuing Windows XP’s last ever security update next week. Technical assistance will no longer be available, automatic updates will cease and even Microsoft Security Essentials will not be made available for download on the OS. But despite this, Ars Technica reports that an alarming 28 percent of web users are still using the operating system.

If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Also, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter greater numbers of apps and devices that do not work with Windows XP. – Microsoft

This means that the 28 percent are (more) vulnerable to viruses and other security risks, possibly putting even other users at risk depending on what the computers are being used for (government offices, banking, etc.). Microsoft is urging users to upgrade their OS by either purchasing the latest version of Windows or even upgrading their current PC. The company has even gone as far as issuing pop-ups about the impending end of support on Windows XP users’ computers.

Unfortunately, Ars notes that the OS “remains abundant, especially in China and other Asian markets.” The report also notes that it wouldn’t be surprising if new exploits for Windows XP are set out into the wild right after April 8.

So if you’re still on Windows XP or you know someone who’s still using it, please remind that it’s time to upgrade. Windows 8.1 is surely not for everyone, but even that would be better than the trouble a nasty exploit could cause on an unprotected Windows XP machine.

[via MicrosoftArs Technica]

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  • Patrikck

    Re. my comments #19 and #30:
    @CJ Cotter.
    Thank you CJ. You’re quite right correcting me and in doing so you are also a gentleman towards “conceptualclarity”. I mistakenly referred to you. Still, I see no harm in referring to the project itself. So hereby…
    @conceptualclarity: Thanks for your suggestion on EMET. I had no idea about it’s existence until you brought it up. IMHO it certainly is worth installing for people who, for whatever reason, wish to keep on using XP for some time.
    Have a nice day,

  • CJ Cotter

    [@Patrikck] Umm…….”conceptualclarity” was the one who first brought EMET into the discussion. Wasn’t me. Then you have been the one discussing it more than anyone. I know nothing about EMET; have never heard of it before; don’t know what that is. Sorry for my ignorance, guys. I don’t want to accept credit for something when it belongs on someone else.

  • David C

    [@CJ Cotter] You’re very welcome! I tried to explain everything as simple as possible, so I hope that it was easy to understand.

    Regarding Microsoft’s End of Life notification, please understand that you do have some options to avoid it or disable it.

    If you’d rather avoid it altogether, and you don’t mind only installing some of the Windows XP updates and security patches that Microsoft has provided since releasing Service Pack 3, you could simply use the Update Pack that’s produced by “user_hidden”. If you look at the contents of that Update Pack, you will see that it includes the following miscellaneous tweak: “KB2934207 – Windows XP End Of Service Notifications (Supressed MU Nag to Install)”.

    If you choose to install the Update Pack that’s produced by “Onepiece”, which is more comprehensive, you still have options to disable the End of Life notification. I actually remember seeing this listed as a Windows XP Component, which I removed according to these instructions:, but I’ve been too busy lately to boot into my Windows XP OS to test if it was truly disabled or not. However, even if that didn’t do the trick, here are a few articles providing us with even more options:


    By now, I think that you get the point that I wouldn’t be too concerned about an annoying nag/popup notification.

    If you or someone else decides to try this amazing Slipstreaming option, I’d be curious to know how it worked out for you. Whether you share your experiences or not, I hope that you have fun and I hope that I was helpful to you.

    David C

  • Patrikck

    Some very useful info in these comments! But what’s the use when so many people are going to upgrade or switch to some Linux distro?
    I followed CJ Cotter’s suggestion to install EMET as a line of defence against some classes of attacks (thanks for the tip, CJ), especially because it’s very effective on older platforms, from about Win 95 and upto XP. (I have no idea about it’s effectiveness for Win7, 8 or 8.1. I guess it will gain in importance for these platforms.) But that’s just a temporary measure as I am gradually migrating to Linux (Ubuntu or Mint).
    Anyway, even if all this info will have no practical use for me, I have no doubt that it will remain important, especially for those people who have a hard time parting with something they have used and loved for so many years and for all those who collect technological “antiquities” (be it for emotional or educational reasons).
    “Partir c’est mourir un peu” (to part is to die a little)… And there will always remain unanswered questions.

    Greetz to all!

  • CJ Cotter

    [@David C] Wow! Thanks! (You DO realize, though, that this process will include Microsoft updates that I will not want… the Windows XP end-of-life nag “update” I deliberately unchecked.)

  • David C

    [@CJ Cotter] Wow, that’s great news that you do have the I386 folder.

    Please note that I don’t mind helping by sharing my experience and acquired knowledge with everyone as long as Ashraf doesn’t mind us using this forum a little more. Since this is such an interesting subject, it might need to have its own article or something, but when I knew the answer to some of the original questions, I simply started to post everything here.

    At first, I wasn’t sure if you could find and use an Update Pack for Windows XP Home Edition, but as stated towards the beginning of the first post seen here: the Update Packs are apparently and thankfully universal with any version of Windows XP. Another similar conversation can be seen here:

    Okay, so assuming that you can do this for Windows XP Home Edition, and based on what I’ve learned, but not actually tried, you will have to perform the Slipstreaming in multiple stages, as outlined here:
    1. Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 1 to Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2
    2. Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 to Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3
    3. Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3 to the final Update Pack of your choice

    Maybe you can do this a different way, but I’m fairly certain that this is the proper order/steps to ensure a working Slipstreamed Windows Installation. Just keep in mind that I think it took about 30-45 minutes to perform one Slipstreaming job for me, not counting disc burning time, so this will take you a little while to complete.

    Regarding not having enough room on a CD to include all of the Update Packs, I think you’re right, but there’s no need to be alarmed as long as you have a blank DVD to burn onto, which is what I did, or you could even create a bootable USB Flash Drive, but I’ve only read about that and never actually tried it, especially considering how cheap blank discs are. Just so you know, the Slipstreaming programs give you the option to burn the created files onto a disc, but you don’t have to do that after each completed run. When you’re ready to burn the final ISO Image to a CD or DVD, you might want to consider using a different program that’s designed strictly for burning, which is what I always do whenever possible, since there’s always a risk for burning errors to occur with any program (I always want to use the best tool for the job).

    The next step is for you to download the standalone Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Service Pack 3 installation files. Since I didn’t perform this step, I can only assume that you could simply download the official ones from Microsoft as listed here:

    These should be the correct ones, even though Microsoft is trying to encourage/scare people to only use Windows Update to obtain them.
    Windows XP Service Pack 2:
    Windows XP Service Pack 3:

    Next, copy everything that’s on your Windows Installation CD onto your computer as explained in my previous post and/or as seen on YouTube. What you end up with on your computer should be an exact copy, size, and file structure as your original CD. Once you have everything ready and organized, follow the instructions seen here: or here:, as well as refer to the YouTube videos that I referenced in my previous post, for using the program of your choice to perform the Slipstreaming process.

    Just so you know, both of the Slipstreaming programs can independently do what you need to do, but the nLite program has a better GUI (Graphical User Interface) and it allows you to customize the Windows Installation, so just try whatever appeals to you the most and then switch it up if you want or need to. I did try both of them, but just as warned by other users, I did have mixed results with the nLite program when performing the initial combining/integrating job (some runs resulted in error messages being displayed), so you might want to use the RyanVM Integrator 1.6 program to perform that tough job, and then you could use the awesome nLite program to customize your disc to your liking and to create the final ISO Image, which can then be burned onto a DVD, etc., which is what I did.

    Well, I think that should about cover it, but if you have further questions, please ask them. I’m fairly confident that you can do this, but I am a little hesitant only because you’re not starting with Windows XP Service Pack 3, as I did. Others have done it, and you should be able to do it too, if you don’t give up. Even if I don’t know the answers, someone out there probably does.

    Have fun.

    David C

  • CJ Cotter

    [@David C] You have to understand that all of this is new software technology to me. I’ve never heard of or know anything about slipstreaming. As a result, I’m not sure of what I’m doing. When the program asked for my I386 folder, I immediately searched my C-drive, which was why I said that I had many of them.

    After thinking about it for a day, I realized that they were asking for the one on my installation disk. There’s only one I386 folder.

    My next challenge is to figure out how I’m going to do this. I have Windows XP Home Edition, no service pack 2 or 3. The disk is almost 600MB. With all of the updates, am I going to have enough room to burn a disk? I don’t know that yet. Probably not.

    I thought about posting another note letting you know that I figured out my initial problem, but I then I decided not to, thinking that you had put this out of your mind. Then you posted your mile-long message, and I thought, “Oh no! I should have told him!”

  • David C

    [@CJ Cotter] Reflecting back on your original question, I inspected the I386 folder that’s located on my non-updated and unmodified copy of Windows XP Professional SP3. Surprisingly, it’s a very large folder; therefore, I’m unable to list all of the contents here. However, the following information might be helpful:

    I386 Folder Properties:

    Size: 521 MB (546,941,474 bytes)
    Size on disk: 528 MB (554,459,136 bytes)
    Contains: 6,950 Files, 153 Folders

    When I open the I386 folder, I immediately see the following:

    1. The following folders, which contains additional files:

    2. The following files:
    (And there are 5,800 more similar files, most of which ends with an underscore.)

    Interestingly, I also noticed that my updated and modified copy of Windows XP Professional SP3 that I created by Slipstreaming contained a different file structure than the original, and the only “folder” that was immediately visible was the I386 folder, while it appeared as though all of the others were placed inside some type of setup file. With that in mind, the I386 folder seems to play a vital role in the successful creation of a Slipstreamed Windows Installation CD/DVD/ISO Image.

    Well, I’m not sure if this helped in any way, but I wanted to make an effort to try to provide you with a better answer to your question.

    Have fun!

    David C

  • David C

    [@CJ Cotter] I just wanted to say that I’ve posted a response to your questions, but it’s currently “awaiting moderation”.

  • David C

    [@CJ Cotter] Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with referencing preinstalled i386 folder/files, although I do remember reading about someone who was trying to do the same thing. I, on the other hand, followed the examples described and seen here:

    I too initially had a problem getting both Slipstreaming programs to find the Windows Installation files that contained the i386 folder/files. I thought that I was perfectly prepared when I downloaded an official free Windows XP Professional SP3 ISO Image directly from Microsoft’s website, but then I was shocked to see that it didn’t contain the necessary i386 folder/files. I then tried to use a friend’s CD, but that too didn’t contain the necessary i386 folder/files. I then resorted to a copy that I obtained several years ago, which I wanted to avoid, because I couldn’t remember where I got it from, but that one did contain the necessary i386 folder and files. I then simply copied the files from the CD and onto my PC.

    During my educational research, I learned that there are many different variations of Windows XP Professional SP3 CDs/ISO Images, such as OEM, Retail, Volume Licensing, etc., so based on that fact, maybe only certain ones contain the necessary files. Once I found a working source, I stopped researching the problem any further.

    If you need further assistance, you might want to post your question on those other web forums. Alternatively, you could search for alternative sources for a Windows XP Professional SP3 CD/ISO Image, but if you use an OEM version, for example, I read how that you might have problems with it.

    I hope this helps.

    David C

    NOTE: Now that I think of it, the differences with the CDs/ISO Images might’ve been in reference to Product Keys, so I might be mistaken with regards to what I remember reading. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try though. I hope it works for you.

  • David C

    [@etim] Regarding “idiot proof packs”, I don’t know about you, but I would much rather trust a known source that has a good fan base, years of good reports and reviews, and who has numerous web forum posts, than to trust the contents of a so-called “idiot proof pack” from a new source.

    Based on my own personal and extensive educational research, the majority of experienced users proclaimed that the Update Pack that’s produced by “Onepiece” is the best, because of the contents compared to others, which is what I also chose to use. You can see it and obtain a copy of it here: A list of contents can be obtained from the link at the bottom of that first post.

    In my opinion, the second choice Update Pack is the one that’s produced by “user_hidden”, which is located here:

    The only time where idiocy might come into play is when trying to properly use the Slipstreaming programs. For example, I at first thought that RyanVM Integrator 1.6 didn’t work, because it didn’t recognize either one of the aforementioned Update Packs. Before I gave up, I noticed that the file selection/browser window was listing a file name example that was something like “UpdatePack.7z”. Well my saved file name was longer and more descriptive than that, but when I renamed the file to resemble what it was looking for, it finally recognized the file and then it worked perfectly.

    I’m no expert, but I’ve probably spent more time than most people would be willing to spend researching and learning about this process and which sources to use and trust, and I’m very confident that these two Update Packs are among the best available.

    I hope this helps.

    David C

  • CJ Cotter

    [@David C] The RyanVM Integrator program asks for the location of the “Finished i386 Directory” I have MANY folders named “i386”. Which one do I use? Would you want me to post a list here?

  • etim

    [@David C] Interesting. I’m gonna keep my eye out for some similar, but more idiot proof, packs like this –they’re sure to be appearing soon.

  • David C

    For those who want to know how to install Windows XP, and all of the updates and security patches that Microsoft has provided since releasing Service Pack 3 (SP3), here’s my story and how I did it without using Microsoft’s Windows Update.

    With the end of Windows XP approaching, I set out to configure my PC in a way that would allow me to install it onto a separate hard drive partition, even though I currently used Windows Vista, and even though I was also planning to add Windows 7. Because of my educational research, I learned about and decided to also throw in a Linux operating system, just for the fun of it, and since so many online users were saying how great it is.

    So, off I went to make my big dreams, I mean plans, come true. Yes, I do have many years of computer experience, but I’ve never tackled a Quad Boot PC before (Windows XP + Vista + 7 + Linux). With a 1.5TB hard drive that was almost full of personal files, videos, free software, etc., I first decided to purchase another hard drive. Since I learned that some operating systems don’t work well with hard drives that are larger than 2TB, and because I didn’t have the money to buy a brand new one, I did some more research and I bought a used 2TB hard drive that wasn’t very old on eBay for $50.

    After I partitioned both of my hard drives into multiple partitions (one for each operating system and then a couple for data and storage that would be accessible from within any of the operating systems), I was about to install my Windows XP Professional SP3 CD when I suddenly had a great idea. I thought, I wonder if all of the updates that I will need to download before April 8 are all available for download somewhere, so that I could easily install them even after Windows XP is no longer supported. That’s when I learned about Slipstreaming.

    Apparently, there are some smart people out there who’ve been compiling all of the updates and security patches, etc., for Windows XP SP3 and saved them all into one file. The file can’t be installed by itself, but I learned that it could be Slipstreamed into an existing Windows Installation, which would basically update the Windows XP Professional SP3 CD. There are other things that you can do too, if you really want to get into it.

    After many more hours of educational research, I learned about two free programs that would allow anyone to Slipstream and make an updated version of their Windows Installation CD/ISO Image. The top rated one is RyanVM Integrator 1.6 and the other one is nLite I read that RyanVM Integrator does a better job of updating Windows Installation CDs while nLite provides some amazing customizations, including entering everything onto the CD or DVD to make an unattended installation possible. I also read that you could use the top rated one to update the installation files and then use nLite to customize it and create the new ISO Image/Disk, which is what I did.

    Well, I did run into a few problems, but after checking online I found out what I did wrong and then I was amazingly able to successfully Slipstream and make an updated version of my Windows Installation CD/ISO Image. Because of adding all of the updates to the original SP3 CD, the new copy was actually too large to fit onto a CD, so I just burned it onto a DVD.

    After I installed my newly updated Windows XP Professional SP3, I checked everything over, including going to Windows Update before the April 8 deadline, and amazingly no updates were needed, everything was updated, and everything was customized just the way I configured it. It works great!

    If anyone wants to know more, there’s plenty of educational sources out there, but I could also post some links to help you get started if someone would like them. Because of this method, you can install Windows XP and all known updates and security patches even after April 8, 2014.

    I’m sorry for the long story, but I hope this helps someone. By the way, my computer is working great with Linux being the last thing still to install on my wish list.

    Have fun!
    David C

  • Patrikck

    * [CJ Cotter, @ Ashraf – re.: EMET]
    Interesting suggestion but I had a look at some (fairly recent) articles and selected these two:
    — directly related:
    It seems to me that EMET does not give you full protection against attacks. Which software could? None if you ask me… But it may temporarily fend off some serious threats to XP users. It’s important to carefully read te documentation provided by MS and be aware of the limitations of this tool…
    For download and some tech info (on versions 4.1 and announced version5):

    * IMHO the Y2K scam (I have no other qualification that fits reality better) has no relation to the current XP issue. As far as I know XP has been MS’s most successfull Windows. I agree that after more than 12 years it needs an upgrade, but seeing how much MS has earned from it I get a bad taste in my mouth when they drop more than 20% of their clients. All the more because, as I read, they would extend support with one year for the UK only! Over the past couple of months a few companies have announced they would extend security support for another year (I refer to Google and HP but there may be other players who made similar promises – Kaspersky perhaps but I haven’t checked). It might perhaps have been a good idea for MS to give long term customers a few percent reduction on the puchase of new software, whether or not preinstalled on newer hardware. But, in my experiece, even after you bought Windows full version full price CD/DVD’s and those got dammaged you would never ever get a full replacement. You’d get a ‘recovery disc’ which would never completely restore your Windows next time your machine crashed. MS is (and has since some 20 years been) a counterproductive actor because of it’s worldwide near monopoly in the operating systems landscape. There is no willingness at all to change this situation…

    * [@ Ashraf – & others]: I fully support your suggestion to drop XP and move to Linux. However, I would caution Windows users that Linux comes in many different “colors and tastes” (“distributions” or “distro’s” such as Ubuntu and it’s derivatives, RedHat, Mint,.., all of which have their own specifications – to get an idea see, that Linux uses a totally different “lingo” and that it all comes with a learning curve (in some cases quite steep). I will repartition my HD to make room for Ubuntu (needs 20 GB diskspace at least) and set up my BIOS to keep my computer from accessing XP directly… Hoping that I will be able to stepwise get rid off everything MS…


  • Enrique Manalang

    [@CJ Cotter] [@Jim-1] Thanks for all the additional info guys!

  • Jim-1

    Looks like there is a little good news:

    Q: Will existing updates still be available via Windows Update after April 8, 2014?
    A: Yes, all existing Windows XP updates and fixes will still be available via Windows Update and WSUS.

    from the Q&A section at

    Note that if you need to re-install XP, Windows Update will NOT work until you have SP3, so you cannot use Windows Update to get to SP3. The stand alone installers may still be available online, but just to be on the safe side, I have downloaded and saved the installers for XP SP2 and XP SP3.

  • CJ Cotter

    I just found out that not only is Microsoft ending their support for Windows XP, they are also ending their support for Office 2003. Check it out:

  • etim

    [@Ashraf] You’ve got me wondering–Was this such a big deal back when win 95, 2000, etc were retired? Anyone remember?

    Edit–oh–I guess net banking, etc wasn’t nearly as big then.

  • Ashraf

    [@CJ Cotter] One thing you have to remember: Y2K was mostly an issue (if you can call it an issue) for business to handle. Windows XP no longer being supported is as much as consumer issue as a business issue. And consumers don’t want to do what is needed: moving away from XP.

  • CJ Cotter

    [@Ashraf] You wrote, “However, I disagree that this is similar to Y2K, which turned out to be nothing.” Nothing happened because everyone took calm, positive, proactive steps to make sure nothing would happen. Our local newspaper brought in computer experts to fix their network and all of their computers. When they thought they had everything taken care of, they did a dry run by forwarding their clocks to midnight year 2000. Their whole system crashed. Took them a couple of days to recover everything back up to normal.

  • CJ Cotter

    [@Jim-1] No. The old updates will disappear. I tried reinstalling Windows 2000 and then getting the Microsoft updates after the support deadline. They were no longer there.

  • conceptualclarity

    Should people who aren’t going to be able to get off XP right away get EMET?

  • Ashraf

    [@Jim-1] Very good question. I would assume older updates are still available but I really don’t know.

  • Jim-1

    Does anyone know what “Support is ending” actually means? I assume that MS will no longer make new updates to XP, but will the older updates still be available to download? Trying to re-install XP is a major nightmare now, but it would be almost impossible if the older updates were no longer available to download.

  • etim

    [@JB] Now’s the time to get a (free) copy of Linux and play with it.
    You can run it off the CD/flash w/o having to install it so you don’t have to delete your windows stuff to play with it. It will run slower using the disc, but once you install it, your PC will probably be noticeably faster.
    I’m testing out “Elementary” now and I’m getting the hang of it pretty quickly–it’s not that much different than getting used to a new version of windows (or switching to a Mac) and I’ll be rid of years of Windows’ bullshit.

  • Ashraf

    [@JB] You could go to Linux or do what CJ Cotter says. Another alternative is using your 8-year-old Dell for low risk tasks (e.g. watching online videos) while buying a cheap new computer for more important tasks (e.g. banking). It is very easy to purchase a new laptop or desktop for $300-500 nowadays.

  • CJ Cotter

    [@JB] Months ago, I started doing research on my motherboard. I found out that I did not have to buy a whole new computer. The manufacturer still had other slightly newer motherboards similiar to mine that DO support Windows 7, and would allow me to keep/transfer my processor and RAM cards. There are people on eBay who might be able to sell you an upgraded board, at a much lower price than a new computer.

  • JB



  • Ashraf

    [@CJ Cotter] I agree with you, there is definitely an element of exaggeration. However, I disagree that this is similar to Y2K, which turned out to be nothing.

    It is undeniable Windows regularly needs security updates; anyone that has used a Windows computer for more than 6 months knows that. It is also undeniable that, because XP is very old, it needs more security updates than newer Windows due to ever advancing technology that finds more clever ways to break into your computer. The fact that XP will no longer get those security updates is a huge deal that should not be ignored. I’m not saying jump out of your seat and go purchase a $1,000 Win8 machine this moment. I’m saying: don’t write it off. Being calm is good. Being passive is not.

  • CJ Cotter

    [@Ashraf] I have no problem with your facts, but this is becoming this year’s Y2K bug. The solution is to be calm, and by taking positive proactive steps. However, I refuse to get sucked up into the emotional, hand-wringing, fearful hype. Nevertheless, thank you for your comments, which are always welcome.

  • Ashraf

    [@CJ Cotter] If you consider the truth to be a scare tactic, sure then it is a scare tactic. You can’t hide from the truth. When Windows XP stops getting security updates from Microsoft, it will be more vulnerable to viruses and other security risks — even if you have anti-virus installed.

    Your argument is flawed. Anyone that drives a car is at risk of injury or death due to accident. However, someone that drives a no-longer-maintained car from the 80s is at a lot more risk than someone who is driving a brand new car. Everyone is at risk but the risks are at different levels.

  • CJ Cotter

    “Vulnerable to viruses and other security risks…..”? Oh, puhleeze. What is this, some kind of scare tactic? It’s a security risk just to use my credit card at any of the local “big box” stores. We live in a sea of security risks.

    Nevertheless, I have a new motherboard on the way that supports Windows 7, and I can still keep (transfer) my processor and RAM cards.