A friend suggested I write an article about Microsoft Security Essentials and how it is affected by Microsoft discontinuing support for Windows XP on the 8th of April. So, here it is Randy….
Microsoft has produced a lot of confusion in the past few months regarding the end of support for Windows XP. The common myth is that the operating system will cease to function. Nothing could be further from the truth. They will still function, it is simply that Microsoft will no longer be developing security updates for XP.
Those that understand the last paragraph still may have been taken in by the hype that Microsoft Security essentials will no longer work. Again this is a myth. There is no supporting documentation from Microsoft that this product is at end of life. The myth is being propagated in articles like this one I found at ZDNet. In that article, the writer quotes a Microsoft employee as saying:
Microsoft will not guarantee updates of our antimalware signature and engine after the XP end of support date of April 8, 2014. Running antivirus on out of support operating systems is not an adequate solution to help protect against threats. Running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today’s threat landscape. In addition, Microsoft recommends best practices to protect your PC such as: 1) running up to date antivirus, 2) regularly applying security updates for all software installed, and 3) using modern software that has advanced security technologies and is supported with regular security updates.
The article takes this quote and twists it to make people believe that MS is dropping Security Essentials when in reality the quote simply states that Microsoft will not guarantee running this product on an out of support operating system. Since Security Essentials is an anti virus and anti malware product and not an operating system, I seriously doubt that it will stop working on your Vista, Windows 7 or 8 system.
According to Microsoft, on their Lifecycle information page for security products, Microsoft Security Essentials is not going end of life anytime soon. It’s not even listed. Myth debunked…
Do I believe you should upgrade? Absolutely! but not just the operating system. Upgrading an old computer with a new operating system does not make a lot of sense. It’s kinda like putting jet fuel in an old AMC Gremlin. It may be fun at first, but you’re really going to get nothing more than problems. (Probably a bad analogy, but I remember doing something similar in my teen age years)
My advice? Relax and plan on getting a new(er) computer within the next few months (or year) and install Windows 7 on it. If you must go Windows 8, wait a few weeks and get Windows 8.1 with update 1. If you are running Windows Vista, 7 or 8 with Microsoft Security Essentials, relax and go get another cup of coffee.