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It's been a long time coming, but effective April 8, 2014, Microsoft will finally drop support for Windows XP. What that means is no more security patches , nor will you be able to receive tech support from Microsoft for any issues that arise on Windows XP systems. Initially, Microsoft also planned to pull the plug on its free Security Essentials software for XP by ceasing to offer it as a download and cutting off definition updates, but that's no longer the case.
Instead, Microsoft is giving XP users a 15-month reprieve. Though support for XP ends in early April, Microsoft will continue to update Security Essentials on XP through through July 14, 2015. If you're an enterprise customer, you'll also receive updates for System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection, and Windows Intune on XP.
"Microsoft has announced the Windows XP end of support date of April 8, 2014. After this date, Windows XP will no longer be a supported operating system. To help organizations complete their migrations, Microsoft will continue to provide updates to our antimalware signatures and engine for Windows XP users through July 14, 2015," Microsoft stated in a blog post. "This does not affect the end-of-support date of Windows XP, or the supportability of Windows XP for other Microsoft products, which deliver and apply those signatures."
What isn't clear is whether or not Microsoft will still offer Security Essentials for download on XP systems past April 8. Even if it doesn't, however, it won't be hard to find on third-party download sites.