Windows XP Security Essentials updates to halt in April 2014

Microsoft confirms anti-malware tool will not be updated for XP users beyond April 2014.

Microsoft is to withdraw its free Windows XP anti-malware tool when extended support for its aged desktop operating system ends in April, the software giant has confirmed.

The move has been announced in a note on the Windows XP End of Life page, which states support for Microsoft Security Essentials will cease on 8 April 2014.

"After April 8 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC," the post reads.

"Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date.

"If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security and viruses," it states.

The news is another blow for Windows XP users, who have been subjected to years of warnings from Microsoft about the dangers of sticking with the operating system beyond April 2014.

As of December 2013, Windows XP still held 29.98 per cent of desktop operating system market share, according to figures from Net Applications. Windows Vista, its successor, accounted for 3.61 per cent, while Windows 8.x held 10.49 per cent.

Windows 7, meanwhile, had the largest share of the desktop operating system market with 47.52 per cent.

Speculation Microsoft could pull support for Security Essentials on XP machines has been rife since November. In a statement doing the rounds at the time, the vendor said it would not guarantee updates for it would continue beyond the April 2014 Windows XP switch-off date.

In a statement, the firm outlined the reasons why updating Security Essentials on Windows XP machines would make little sense for the firm.

"Running antivirus on out of support operating systems is not an adequate solution to help protect against threats. Running a well-protected solutions starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today's threat landscape," it stated.

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