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Analysts: End of XP could cause operational and security problems for industry, consumers

Monday - 4/7/2014, 5:20pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Microsoft support for Windows XP ends tomorrow.

The popular operating system has been around for 12 years, and an estimated 30 percent of businesses and consumers are still using it. While they will be able to continue to run XP after Tuesday, Microsoft says it will no longer provide new security updates, issue fixes to non-security related problems or offer online technical content updates. Microsoft says it will provide anti-malware-related updates through July 14, 2015, but warns that the tweaks could be of limited help on an outdated operating system.

Security experts say that could put everything from the operations of heavy industry to the identities of everyday people in danger. Patrick Thomas at the firm Neohapsis says hackers have "a big neon bull's eye" on the issue.

Thomas says XP has been a reliable workhorse, prompting a wide variety of people and businesses to stick with it instead of upgrading to other Windows systems. In addition to home computers, XP is used to run everything from water treatment facilities and power plants to small businesses like doctor's offices.

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APPHOTO NY201: FILE - This July 22, 2009 file photo shows a Windows XP logo on a Hewlett Packard Laptop at a Best Buy in Mountain View, Calif. On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for its still popular Windows XP. With an estimated 30 percent of businesses and consumers still using the 12-year-old operating system, the move could put everything from the data of major financial institutions to the identities of everyday people in danger if they don't find a way to upgrade soon. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File) (22 Jul 2009)

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APPHOTO NY204: FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2006 file photo, the logo for Microsoft Corp.'s Media Center Edition of the Windows XP operating system is displayed on a screen at a CompUSA store in Bellevue, Wash. On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for its still popular Windows XP. With an estimated 30 percent of businesses and consumers still using the 12-year-old operating system, the move could put everything from the data of major financial institutions to the identities of everyday people in danger if they don't find a way to upgrade soon. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) (26 Oct 2005)

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