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Microsoft extends Windows XP anti-malware signature support into 2015

Microsoft has proved there’s still life in the old dog that is Windows XP by announcing that anti-malware signatures for its own products used on the OS will be provided until 15 April 2015.

Related: Microsoft highlights security issues to get users to ditch XP for Windows 8.1

The Redmond-based firm is removing general support for Windows XP on 8 April 2014 and has extended the deadline in order to “help organisations complete their migrations” to new versions of Windows.

It will continue to provide signatures for the consumer Microsoft Security Essentials program and for enterprise customers support will remain for System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection and Windows Intune running on XP.

“Our research shows that the effectiveness of antimalware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited. Running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today’s threat landscape,” the post on Technet added.

Microsoft recommends a number of “best practices” that will protect a PC including making use of modern software to ensure the system is secure, applying security updates regularly to all software installed, and running antivirus software that is up-to-date.

The security flaws present in Windows XP have been plain to see over the past 12 months with a number of zero-day exploits being used by hackers to attack firms that are still choosing to use Windows XP as the OS of choice.

Despite Microsoft trying to wean people off Windows XP, the outdated OS remains the second largest OS in terms of user share with 31 per cent of desktops still using the OS as it lags behind just Windows 7, which accounts for 46 per cent of the OS market.

Related: Chinese government pleads with Microsoft to extend Windows XP support

This was preceded, in April, by figures from Net Applications that illustrated the majority of that number is businesses that are refusing to migrate to new versions of Windows.