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Want extended support for Windows XP? Just pay Microsoft £5.5 million

Windows XP

Multi-million pound support deal will protect computers in public sector still running Windows XP

The UK Government will pay Microsoft £5.548 million to receive an extra year of Windows XP security updates and support.

With mainstream Windows XP support ending on 8 April, the Government deal will cover all central and local government bodies, schools, the NHS and scores of other public sector organisations. The deal runs out on 8 April 2015, by which time it is expected that the entire public sector will have upgraded from XP.

First reported by Computer Weekly, the deal was signed by the new Crown Commercial Services (CCS), an organisation within the Cabinet Office that handles public sector purchasing.

CCS claimed that the deal would save £20m compared to individual departments negotiating their own deals. Any public sector body that wishes to use extended support will need a “robust plan” to move off Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 within the next year.

It isn’t known how many public sector computers still run Windows XP, but around 680,000 NHS computers may still use the ageing operating system. Around 27 per cent of computers worldwide still run Windows XP, with Microsoft’s support deadline now just days away.

Security experts have warned that continuing to use Windows XP is a huge risk, with hackers able to exploit security holes that will no longer be fixed by Microsoft. Antivirus companies including Avast, AVG, Bitdefender and Kaspersky will continue to provide security updates for XP, as will the Chrome and Firefox web browsers.

Microsoft is urging people still running Windows XP to upgrade before it pulls the plug on 8 April. If you’re still using Windows XP and want advice on what to do, check out our in-depth guide.

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