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End of the line for Windows XP SP2

July 13th 2010 signals the end of the road for Windows XP SP2. That may sound dire but it’s not as bad as it sounds. What it really means is that from that date, Microsoft will no longer be releasing any further security updates and hotfixes for Windows XP with service pack 2 on it. It’s important to note that Windows XP actually has three service packs.

Support and updates for service pack 1 were stopped a while back and now the same is happening for service pack 2. Support for service pack 3 (SP3) will continue for a few more years yet, so those people still using Windows XP will still be able to get updates as long as they have installed SP3.

Updates and hotfixes are important to keep a PC secure. Every month on "Patch Tuesday" Microsoft releases a set of updates and fixes for security vulnerabilities found. In a lot of cases the vulnerabilities are kept quiet until the updates are available, however once the updates are released, those vulnerabilities can be found and exploited on systems that aren’t updated. So from July 13th on, any PC with Windows XP SP2 on it will become more and more vulnerable to being compromised.

Obviously anyone who has already upgraded to Windows Vista or Windows 7 or even Windows XP SP3 need not worry about this at all.

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