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The Windows XP operating system is finally totally dead. The final version of Windows XP that was still being supported has now officially reached the end of its life. Users of the popular software will need to mourn quickly and purchase a copy of Windows 10.
Microsoft ended all support for Windows XP on April 8th, 2014 but people using the operating system had a workaround in the form of Windows Embedded POSReady 2009.
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This operating system is now also totally defunct. Windows XP arrived in 2001 replacing Windows 2000. It was popular and praised for its stabilizing abilities. When it was retired in 2014, it was still being used widely across users of many kinds especially for point of sale systems.
WannaCry brought lots of tears
However, the system got a bad rap after users continued to use it after it became unsupported by Microsoft. This overuse led to some serious security issues including the WannaCry ransomware attack which brought down much local and national government and the NHS, which still had XP in wide use at the time.
The attack occurred in May 2017, and it targeted susceptible computers running Windows XP and other older Windows systems that were past their end-of-life.
The attack encrypted data on computers and demanded ransom payments in Bitcoin Cryptocurrency from their operators. The attack was short lived thanks to a patch update from Microsoft and the discovery of a kill switch that prevented computers from spreading WannaCry further.
NHS suffered serious damage
Despite its short life, the attack is estimated to have affected more than 200,000 computers across 150 countries, with total damages ranging from hundreds of millions to billions of dollars.
After some investigations, the United States, the United Kingdom Australia formally accused agents working from inside North Korea for the attack. Russia, Ukraine, India, and Taiwan were the hardest hit countries, but the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) was severely impacted.
It is estimated that up to 70,000 devices – including computers, MRI scanners, blood-storage refrigerators, and theatre equipment – may have been affected by the WannaCray attack.
On May 12 some NHS services were forced to turn non-emergency patients away due to the effects of WannaCry. A 2018 report by Members of Parliament showed that 200 NHS hospitals or other organizations checked after the attacks were still vulnerable to a malware attack.
Security analysts have warned that a similar attack could occur in January 2020 when reaches end-of-life. The operating system is estimated to still command almost 40 percent of the Windows market. Users of out of date XP operating systems have until July 2019 to install final updates but will then need to make serious changes.
The Microsoft support page offers two options for XP users. You need to either upgrade your PC, but if you have an older machine it is unlikely to be able to support Windows 10, which is the latest version of Windows.
In that case, it's time to buy a new PC. Thankfully the price of PC’s has dropped dramatically in the last five years, and someone that mainly surfs the net can get a personal computer for under $250 USD.