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Microsoft: MED-V won't help you escape WinXP end-of-life

No extensions, no mercy... just migrate already

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Slipping Windows XP inside Microsoft's Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) to get around the PC operating system's end-of-life date won't work.

That's the warning from Microsoft, which has advised customers to stop looking for ways to keep Windows XP going and finally migrate.

Extended support for Windows XP finishes on 8 April 2014, but Microsoft says it has been asked whether putting Windows XP on MED-V extends the Windows XP date.

"The short answer is: No MDOP solution extends or affects the Windows XP Lifecycle end-of-life date for support," Microsoft said in a blog here. MED-V is part of MDOP - Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. "That date is firm and will not change. April 8, 2014."

After that date, Microsoft won't provide any patches or critical updates for Windows XP as a matter of course.

That leaves the vast majority of enterprises which are still running XP in a deep hole. Just 20 per cent of big companies (ie, those which are running over 1,000 PCs) have moved to Windows 7, with 80 per cent still clinging to Windows XP, browser specialist Browsium said this week.

The sticking points are Internet Explorer 6 and 7, as many big businesses have written critical apps for IE6 and 7 – which are off-limits on Windows 7.

Microsoft had claimed "more than" 50 per cent of enterprise desktops are running Windows 7.

MED-V has been used to run Windows XP on Windows 7 machines. Extended support for MED-V version 1 ends on 9 October, 2018, while version 2 runs until 13 April 2021, offering some short-term breathing space.

However, MED-V won't be updated to work on Windows 8 as Microsoft has decided to end-of-life Win8 support for its enterprise desktop virtualization platform – a plan that was revealed in June.

Extended support for Windows 7 is currently slated to finish on 14 January 2020, while Microsoft will start selling Windows 8 in October this year.

Microsoft explained while MED-V and Windows 7 would be supported within their dates, guest operating systems that are past their support date would not. We're looking at you, Windows XP.

"The host machine's software will be fully supported until that date but no security or critical updates will be released for the guest operating system," Microsoft said.

Microsoft in 2008 extended the length of time it would maintain Windows XP to the 2014 date in response to customer demand and pressure from PC makers who'd kept right on shipping the operating system on PCs and netbooks rather than stuff them with Windows Vista. It was an unprecedented move, meaning Windows XP got 13 years of fixes and patches for bugs and security holes from its maker.

The advice from Microsoft is clear: there will be no more extensions and it's time to move off Windows XP. "MED-V is designed to only serve as a temporary solution for remediation. The end game should be the modernization or replacement of the application(s) in question," Microsoft said. ®

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