UK government calls time on Windows XP

May 26, 2015 | 12:02

Tags: #contracts #support #windows #windows-xp

Companies: #government #microsoft #uk-government

The UK government has announced that it will not renew a controversial extended support contract for Microsoft's Windows XP platform, claiming that the transition to more modern operating systems has seen 'good progress.'

In April 2014, Windows XP officially became end-of-life - significantly after it was supposed to, following numerous extensions that gave the platform a reputation as the OS that would not die. In true immortal fashion, even the April end-of-life date proved to be flexible: large government and enterprise customers could pay Microsoft an undisclosed sum to extend their support for the platform on an annual basis, receiving security patches and bug fixes that the general public cannot. Elsewhere, customers still using Windows XP Embedded found that emergency security patches were still being distributed post-April, leading to some XP die-hards modifying their registries to report themselves as the Embedded edition to the Windows Update servers.

The UK government was one of the customers which took advantage of Microsoft's extended support contract, adding an additional year of support in a move which was criticised as a waste of money that could have been spent migrating to a platform which is in general support. Now, though, it has declared that the deal was a one-off.

'Last April Microsoft ended the support of several of its products, including Windows XP. We decided then to put in place a one off, one year Custom Support Agreement (CSA) to give departments time to identify replacement software and to migrate away from these products,' a spokesperson for the Government Technology Team explained in a blog post on the matter. 'All departments have had seven years warning of the 2014 end of normal support and this one year agreement was put together with the support of Technology Leaders to give everyone a chance to get off XP.

'The Technology Leaders met last month and took a collective decision to not extend the support arrangement for 2015,' the spokesperson added. 'There has been good progress in moving away from Windows XP across departments and government organisations and with many public bodies this transition is complete. We expect most remaining government devices using Windows XP will be able to mitigate any risks, using the CESG guidance. Where this is not possible, they may need to review their own short term transition support.'
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