Microsoft antimalware support for Windows XP

Originally published: April 7, 2016

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Microsoft announced it will continue to provide updates to our antimalware signatures and engine for Windows XP customers through July 14, 2015. For enterprises, this applies to System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Intune running on Windows XP. For consumers, this applies to Microsoft Security Essentials.

  • This does NOT change the end of support date for Windows XP. Support for Windows XP ends on April 8, 2014, and after this date there will be no more new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

  • By continuing to update our anti-malware products for Windows XP through July 14, 2015, we are providing customers that have not completed their migration the ability to identify when their PCs are compromised and take appropriate actions.

  • The continuation of updates to our antimalware signatures and engines does NOT mean Windows XP machines are entirely secure.

    • Security updates (e.g. [Microsoft Security Bulletin MS13-095]( security/bulletin/ms13-095)) are updates to the Windows XP operating system for vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware.
    • Anti-malware signatures are a set of characteristics used to help identify malware. The engine leverages these signatures to determine if a file is malicious or not, and blocks the virus.
    • While the anti-malware updates enable the ability to detect and block certain malware on Windows XP PCs, it is important to note that since the underlying vulnerability in the Windows XP operating system will not be patched with a new security update, a new strain of malware attacking the same vulnerability may not be detected in the future and may be able to infect the PC.

PCs running Windows XP should not be considered to be truly protected, even with anti-malware signatures and updates to the engine, and it is important to complete your migration to a current supported operating system so you can receive regular security updates to protect your computer from malicious attacks. Anti-malware products have limited effectiveness on a PC which is not up-to-date with all the security updates.