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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Microsoft withdraws support to Windows XP ...

Do you have grey hair ? ~ are you above 40 years of age ? did you use Computer in mid 1980s ? ….. [did you at some point of time say – no formal education in Computers but adept in handling ?!?!] …

Today, most of phones that modern day children use have ‘touch screen’ – an electronic visual display that the user can control through simple or multi-touch gestures by touching the screen with a special stylus/pen (mostly with the fingers) …. The screen reacts to the touch made on the display and life goes on easily and entertainingly …..   Touchscreens are common in devices such as game consoles, all-in-one computers, tablet computers, and smartphones. They can also be attached to computers or, as terminals, to networks.  You see them at many other interfaces like – ATM, billing desks and more…

Would you (those other than those mentioned in 1st para) imagine that handling a computer was monstrous and complicated in early days … with specialists keying in host of commands to make it respond ? … to put it mildly, to make use of the mighty giant with hoards of data, one needed closer to a magic wand to make it respond …. It required inputting in computer language – which was more than Greek and Latin to many …. those were the days of DOS.

A great cartoon that circulated couple of decades ago !
MS-DOS was an  operating system for x86-based personal computers. It was the most commonly used member of the DOS family of operating systems, and was the main operating system for IBM PC compatible personal computers during the 1980s to the mid-1990s…………….. till came the marvel called GUI (graphical User interface) (which was a repeat Q in most competitive exams and Quizzes)

For those older than the first para – an operating system (OS) is a collection of software that manages computer hardware resources and provides common services for computer programs. The operating system is an essential component of the system software in a computer system. Application programs usually require an operating system to function. For hardware functions such as input and output and memory allocation, the operating system acts as an intermediary between programs and the computer hardware. GUI was a great relief as it allowed User to interact with electronic devices through graphical icons and visual indicators such as secondary notation, as opposed to text-based interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation.

Then MS Windows stormed over……….. MS Windows is a series of graphical interface operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft. Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows in Nov 1985, 1985 as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS ~  the most recent versions of Windows for personal computers, smartphones, server computers and embedded devices are respectively Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8,  and more. 

Now comes the announcement that customers will no longer receive new security updates, hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates for their XP OS. Microsoft will stop technical support for its most popular operating system (OS) Windows XP globally from Tuesday(08.04.2014), bringing down curtains on the software giant’s longest running OS. From Tuesday, customers will no longer receive new security updates, hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates for their XP OS. Windows XP, which was launched in October 2001, is three generations behind the latest operating system Windows 8 that hit markets in October 2012. The current XP version is called Windows XP Service Pack 3.

This means that running Windows XP when the product is obsolete (after support ends) will increase the risk of technology being affected by cybercriminals attempting to do harm, according to MS Windows blog. In February this year, the US-based firm had said its PC install base for large enterprises in India is about 4 million units, of which around 84 per cent migrated from Windows XP.

The tech giant had indicated that a number of ATMs are yet to be upgraded and such cash vending machine may face security risk. The number of ATMs using Windows XP is higher as compared to 16 per cent PCs which need upgrades. There are roughly about 100,000 ATMs in India and many of them are running Windows XP. They have the same support policy and will be out of support, something which the RBI guidelines also referred. Last month, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had warned that banking operations, including ATM services, may be hit as support from Microsoft for Windows XP operating system will end from April 8 and had asked banks to take immediate steps. However, Indian Banks Association (IBA) chief executive M V Tanksale had said only old ATMs might face some problems, while the newer machines run on other platforms.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
8th Apr 2014

With inputs taken from The Hindu for the later part of the post.

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