Nevermind that the third Service Pack for Windows XP came out two years ago, or that XP itself is about two generations old. According to security risk and compliance management provider Qualys, out of the hundreds of thousands of PCs the company monitors, half of them are still running Windows XP SP2.
"The normal thing for IT is not to muck around with something that works," said Wolfgang Kandek , chief technology officer for Qualys. "I would expect that come August, SP2 will be getting hard and harder to defend. I expect to see reliable exploits of unpatched vulnerabilities three or four months later."
Kandek's outlook takes into consideration that Microsoft plans to retire Windows XP SP2 on July 13, at which point users will need to upgrade to SP3 in order to continue receiving security updates.
Looking further ahead, Microsoft will retire Windows XP SP3 in April 2014.