End of Life: Windows XP

Microsoft will end the extended support cycle for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This means that after this date no more security patches or maintenance updates will be released by Microsoft. For all practical purposes, Windows XP will be dead after this date.

We at the Physics Department are going to face some problems when XP reaches its end of life:

  • Our client computer network is directly exposed to the Internet, thus we depend on a continuous availability of operating system patches. Furthermore we are bound to ETH’s Acceptable Use Policy for Telematics Resources (BOT), which orders every system owner to install OS upgrades to avoid security issues. Since for Windows XP no more security patches will be available after April 9, 2014, from then on it is not possible to fulfill the BOT requirements and to ensure overall system security. Running Windows XP connected to the ETH network will become a security issue after the April 8, 2014 and will not be tolerated by ETH’s network security.
  • A network scan unveiled several dozen Windows XP machines still connected to our client computer network. One reason may be that measurement instrument controller software still depends on that version of Windows. Also old hardware might be in use which does not run well with a newer operating system.

Regarding these facts, we would like to ask you to start analyzing your Windows XP machines and the dependencies and reasons of the existence of this operating system. The following points provide some steps and hints about the process to eliminate or upgrade current Windows XP machines.

  • Check whether there are Windows XP machines still in use in your computer ecosystem and analyze whether a software or hardware component really depends on this version of Windows.
  • In case your Windows XP installation is needed to control specific lab equipment and you are locked to this OS version, please check with the manufacturer of the equipment whether new software or drivers are available or a hardware upgrade allows to migrate this Windows XP computer to a newer version of Windows.
  • If an upgrade to a newer Windows release generates extra cost, now would be a good time to spend this money to keep your systems and equipment up to date and to have a stable environment without running into IT security concerns in the near future.
  • Please draw up any possible cost to the 2014 budget so new hardware/software can be ordered prior to the end of life date of Windows XP and the system can be upgraded in advance.
  • If you face a situation in which it is not possible to upgrade to a higher version of Windows for technical or financial reasons, please contact us. We can help you analyze your specific situation and can try to find particular solutions to isolate your Windows XP installation from the network or maybe find a way to upgrade to a higher OS release.

You are welcome to contact us in any case of questions or concerns relating the Windows XP end of life topic. We can provide help to migrate away from Windows XP as swift as possible so you can keep your systems secure and stable.

Please note that after April 8, 2014, Windows XP will not be tolerated on the ETH network and we will be required to enforce this rule.

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