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Microsoft will furnish malware assassin to XP users until mid-2015

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 20, 2014
Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) to scrub infected XP PCs for more than a year after Microsoft ends patches.

Although Microsoft has been urging customers to drop XP before the April 8 deadline for a new OS or PC, millions of machines worldwide will continue to run the aged OS for months and maybe even years to come.

According to metrics company Net Applications, Windows XP's user share — the percentage of all personal computer owners who went online with that OS — stood at 29% at the end of December 2014. Computerworld has forecast that at least 25% of all personal computers will be running the operating system at the end of April, and about 20% at the end of this year.

Those numbers were at the root of Microsoft's recent moves to help out XP users: While the company has remained adamant that bug patches will be discontinued after April 8, some cracks in its "Death to XP" policy have appeared, including the continued availability of Security Essentials' signatures and the lifespan extension for the MSRT.

The explanation: Microsoft has decided it best for all concerned — including itself and its reputation — that it throw some security bones, if only small ones, to those who can't or won't upgrade from XP.ter.


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