Threat Level: green Handler on Duty: Xavier Mertens


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Windows XP, slow to die :-(

After traveling around the past few months in various countries it looks like getting rid of Windows XP is going to take quite a while.  It is probably due to the fact that it has expired that I noticed it more than usual, but XP is certainly everywhere.  You see it at airports on display boards, Point of Sale systems. In one overseas country the computers in customs as well as the railway displays and control systems and hospitals. 

Having obsolete operating systems in a corporate environment is bad enough, there are still many organisations that utilise XP internally.  However as part of critical infrastructure it worries me slightly more.  Now most of us can't do much outside of our little sphere of influence, but it is time for the operating system to go.  

So if junior needs something to do over the next few weeks set them a challenge. Identify all remaining XP devices connected to the network.  Categorise them into real XP and embedded XP ( Still some support available for those).  Then develop a strategy to get rid of them.  

If getting rid of them is not an option and there will those of you in that situation, at least look for ways of protecting them a bit better. Consider network segmentation, application whitelisting, endpoint solutions (some will still work on XP).  As an absolute minimum at least know where they are and how they are being used.

Seek, identify and remove away.

Mark H  


367 Posts
ISC Handler
I can't get rid of XP. Just last night I found out that the software for my managed switch won't function properly under Win7.

34 Posts
Walk into banks, medical offices and here is a great one, even the NSA, IRS and as you pointed out, other Gov's are too. Maybe they did not get the memo, but while asking Dr's. why they have not upgraded, an astounding 100% are contracted with companies that run software for billing of Medicare and others and they DO NOT play together, even IE 11 gives problems and toss in JAVA. How about SCADA, Honeywell and others.. negative since a lot of the firmware is old and have personally seen a lot running 98 programs.

Then for those asleep at the switch, the big push is outsourcing and contracting of IT jobs, so do you put a gun to your head and say, spend $ to upgrade machines and OS, or keep $ flowing in a "loopback" job market? If financial times were better, this would be moving faster. Fact is, will take software developers years to phase out XP, since they do not want to lose the money stream.

Quoting Anon:I can't get rid of XP. Just last night I found out that the software for my managed switch won't function properly under Win7.

Suggestion, have a dual boot laptop, run bare-bones, on xp side keep off net and use that to configure switches and any other peripherals one must do. Works fine.

52 Posts
For those that have a embedded XP POS, patching those can be done till 2019…

However that said, I'm yet to see an organisation that patches these devices in a timely manner, if ever :-(


367 Posts
ISC Handler
The software used by Finance department and provided by the bank only runs on Windows XP.
There are no plans by the bank to upgrade.
The best we can do is to migrate it to a VM and close all firewall ports except RDP for remote access.

29 Posts
To think in this economy people would jump to buy new computers (as many will need to do) because Microsoft says so was simply shortsighted IMO. On top of that the only option being Win8 even more shortsighted. Most home users do not want to have to relearn how to use their computer.

As long as their current one works, why bother upgrading. Sadly, this thinking will probably never change when it comes to the masses that know no better.

25 Posts
To the guy who can't upgrade:

Options: Talk to the vendor and find out when the product will be supported on W7. 2. Find a Workaround. 3. Use an alternative program to manage the switch. 4. Upgrade to a switch that is not OS reliant.

10 Posts
At my EDU, we have moved moved client machines that must be XP to virtual-desktops and locked those down. As for things like switch management, review the Win7 Compatibility settings and experiment with which settings will allow the application to run/install. As noted above, if all else fails, a lean local VM (in NAT mode preferably) may be the best solution...


2 Posts
Quoting Anonymous:I can't get rid of XP. Just last night I found out that the software for my managed switch won't function properly under Win7.

How far have you gone to try to make the software work on Windows 7 or Windows 8?

And as a last resort, did you try installing on a Windows Server 2003 terminal server, which will still be supported for 1 more year?

Have you installed the Windows Compatibility Administration tool for Windows7 or 8, played around at SDBINST, and looked at how a shim advanced compatibility modes might help?

You may be interested to know... i've found some software that works on Windows 8 in XP compatibility mode, that doesn't work on Windows 7 in XP compatibility mode, by the way.

Often times Java version silliness was a bigger issue than the application.

It may be that from first appearances the software won't work, but i've Yet to find a single example of application level software that can't be made to work quite perfectly after the right analysis of what the program is attempting to do that fails, and installation of the right compatibility layer mode options.

Now if this were some VPN client or software that needs to operate on the workstation at a low layer, matters might be different.......

143 Posts

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