How to prepare for the end of Windows XP support

A virtual machine could help extend the life of Windows XP, but the time to create them may have passed.

The end is nigh.

After almost 13 years of continued security updates, Microsoft will discontinue support for its widely-used Windows XP operating system on April 8. While it was announced years ago that there was a firm cutoff date set, there were as many as 500 million computers that were still running the outdated OS as recently as last month. That means that there are a lot of essential systems being held together by a version of Windows that will not be repaired as it continues to deteriorate.

It is being generally accepted that, because Windows XP use is still so pervasive, there are going to be steps that those who are unable to upgrade will have to follow until they are able to migrate. Here are some of the precautions that will need to be taken in order to temporarily delay the inevitable demise of Windows XP.

1) Create virtual machines
Depending on the size of the undertaking at hand, creating virtual machines is one of the easiest ways to keep Windows XP in use just long enough to get an updated OS onto company computers. Virtual machines allow for an easy system restore should a system {program?} become corrupt. This can prove difficult for many organizations, however, as there may be an extensive amount of machines to convert. If this option has not already been considered and implemented, then it is probably too late to beat the deadline.

2) Lock down systems
According to Gartner research vice president Michael Silver, “We’re into panic time.” He told InformationWeek contributor Michael Endler that, even with less than a month to go, very few of the companies that Gartner has spoken to have taken precautions to defend against the oncoming deadline. Many of the “latecomers” are finding that all they are able to do is restrict permissions and wall off certain high-risk avenues of connection.

3) Invest in Deep Freeze
Thankfully, even when Microsoft discontinues official support of Windows XP, Faronics will still be there to help. Deep Freeze instant system restore solution will continue to be compatible with Windows XP for the foreseeable future. This will allow those who cannot avoid using it past April 8 to enjoy extended protection until they are able to transition their machines over to an updated operating system.

Those who have not yet sought out a means to leave Windows XP must do so immediately. But until the problem is resolved, Faronics will be around to provide assistance.

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.