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Government Paying Millions for Extended XP Support

extended support xpA month after support officially ended for Windows XP, details of how far the UK’s public sector lags in the tech world has been emerging. The government is paying Microsoft millions of pounds to extend their support package for Windows XP.

Instead of replacing the 13 year-old XP systems and computers, like most business are doing, the UK Public sector has instead deferred change for yet another year, opting to pay Microsoft to keep them safe.

In an extension deal worth £5.5million, Microsoft will continue to offer support of Windows XP and Office 2003 for all British public sector customers.

Users still working with XP are no longer protected with continual updates from Microsoft. Failure to upgrade leaves computers at risk to security breaches, compliance issues and incompatibility with modern programs.

The UK’s multimillion pound deal is not a ‘get of jail’ card for the public sector, with the bailout only valid for one year. The government will still need to upgrade their public sector systems to Windows 7 or 8 within the next 12 months as to not be open to attack once again.

It’s not just the UK government who have failed to shift from XP systems. The Dutch government have also been forced to sign a multi-million Euro deal to extend support for huge numbers of civil servants computers. Major banks are currently paying for support on their ageing cash machines as they race to update, and across the pond in the United States, the IRS are also well behind schedule migrating across to Windows 8 paying Microsoft for extended support.

First warning for XP usersIE logo

Unlike the public sector, small businesses who have not upgraded or paid the millions of pounds for extended support will face their first serious security test, after a vulnerability has been discovered in all versions of Internet Explorer. The security flaw affects IE 6 to 11, with XP users usually working on versions 6,7 or 8.

Although there’s no fix for any versions of Windows at the moment, it’s likely there will be soon; except for XP of course. That means for those using Internet Explorer on XP, there’s a leak in the system there’s no fix on the horizon.

A spokesperson from Microsoft commented:

“Prolonged support with XP is really only an option for large organisations or public sectors who have the money and need more time to upgrade their systems… It’s quite costly and there’s no certainty that support will even be offered after the year is up.”

For those business who have missed the cut off and are now vulnerable to the recent security breach, take a look at your option for upgrading Windows Systems at Ebuyer.

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Danny Young

Features Editor


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  1. chris roe 1 May, 2014 at 12:18

    Hmmm! To avoid issues just like this an increasing number of public/governmental/local governmental bodies in the EU and further afield are switching to Ubuntu or other Linux-based systems…better security, no viruses, free to donload and install (unless you go for the few commercial versions), free office software, and proper filesharing and privacy built in as standard, and the updates structure is pre-determined and yes, you guessed it…free!!!

  2. akim 1 May, 2014 at 14:27

    I started working for IT with my local council about 18 months ago and was horrified to find that over 90% of the infrastructure was xp /server2003 based. Projects to go to windows 7 are well underway, but it will still be 3 years before every PC, including those in schools, are upgraded. Its going to be a nightmare when real security flaws turn up.

  3. Diablo13 26 September, 2014 at 12:25

    Quite apart from anything else, these public sector organisations deal with vast amounts of OUR personal files and details. They have a legal duty of care to keep all that private medical, financial and identity data safe, which they are not in a position to do properly if they don’t update their systems.
    It’s not like this happened overnight, we all knew XP was outdated and no longer supported officially, the majority of people will have upgraded their personal computers and database’s to the newer, faster and more secure systems probably years ago.There have been 3 Microsoft operating systems released since XP.
    This is criminally negligent to not look after our interests properly and they have had plenty of time to organise both retraining for staff, should they need it, and the gradual upgrading of both hardware and software, so that it didn’t come in as one multi million pound bill all at once.

  4. Philip 20 October, 2014 at 11:31

    The UK governments “Workplace Transformation” project is gaining pace more and more of the governments offices and contractors are moving over to Windows7/Office 2010. The systems that are still on WinXP/Office2003 are being phased out over the next few months. We were dfone in the middle of September and now benefit from improved software perforamce, shame the printers are not up to scratch!

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