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Straight to 8: London's Met Police hatches Win XP escape plan

Custom support? Why yes, Microsoft, how generous of you

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Metropolitan Police are bypassing Windows 7 and going straight to Windows 8 as they ditch Windows XP from nearly 40,000 PCs.

But the force will not have finished the move before April’s end-of-support deadline from Microsoft.

Rather, the Met has agreed a custom support agreement with Microsoft to keep Windows XP machines still on active service and safe from hackers and malware.

Microsoft charges $200 per PC for a Windows XP custom support agreement in the first year, rising to $400 then $800 in years two and three. It’s not clear what the Met will be paying Microsoft to support Windows XP.

The information came to light via a Freedom of Information Request by The Register.

The police service told The Reg: “The MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) & Microsoft have a Custom Support agreement in place to ensure the continuing integrity of our desktop systems”

An agreement was signed with Microsoft in September 2012; however, the Met said details of the migration to Windows 8 are still being completed.

The police did say the upgrade and replacement plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

The Metropolitan Police has a total of 40,590 PC clients, spanning a range of operating systems that include Windows NT 4, 2000, Vista, XP, 7 and Mac OS X. However, Windows XP is the single largest constituent – 38,551 PCs – for the Greater London police force.

The Metropolitan Police is the latest public institution to go on record for missing Microsoft’s deadline of April 8 to get off of Windows XP. After that date, Microsoft will not write any security patches for attacks on Windows XP that target vulnerabilities in the operating system. This potentially leaves systems open to infection and theft of data.

Joining the Met are NHS England and HM Revenue and Customs, gatherer of the nation’s taxes, with more than a million PCs between them.

NHS England has 1.086 million PCs and laptops running Windows at trusts, GPs and other health groups.

The Department of Health has told The Reg it’s negotiating a custom support agreement with Microsoft on Windows XP. Discussions were expected to be concluded “shortly”, the Department told The Reg at the time.

With less than four weeks until Microsoft's April 8 cutoff date, there's still no word from Whitehall on an agreement.

HMRC, like the Met, expects to complete its migration by the end of 2014. The department has 85,268 PCs on Windows XP and started migrations in 2012.

The taxman has told The Reg that it did not “expect” to pay for Windows XP security fixes beyond the April 8 deadline but that “dialogue continues with Microsoft regarding how they might need to support HMRC through the transition away from XP in 2014.” ®

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