Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you’re my parents (which I highly doubt– but if you do happen to read this, Mum, I’m genuinely kidding), you’ll know that support for Microsoft’s Windows XP is ending on April the eighth– definition files for Microsoft Security Essentials and EndPoint Protection notwithstanding.
However, it goes without saying that Windows XP will live for several months on private networks all over the globe after that dreaded cutoff date has arrived.
For customers in the enterprise who know they will find themselves in this situation, Microsoft is allowing them to reach out and continue receiving “important” updates for clients they host which are still utilising the aged operating system.
What each Custom Support contract entails does, indeed, vary depending on each customers’ requirements (including costs, the length of time for which support is provided to the client, etc). However, in general, IT Pros will be granted access to security hotfixes and direct technical support throughout the life of their contract.
It is important to note, though, that Microsoft is not offering this service as a means of providing long-term support for customers that have simply been too slack to migrate any XP-based systems to Windows Vista (or above. Most likely, above). In light of this, customers must submit an almost comprehensive plan that details how they plan to go about migrating, or decommissioning, older systems, in order to flush Windows XP from their corporate network/s. This plan must be approved by Microsoft and, if it is, said customers will then be able to work with the tech giant to establish clearly defined goals and logical steps, which would include start and end dates for their Custom Support contract.
While it seems obvious that skating by with updates for Microsoft Security Essentials/EndPoint Protection and new copies of the Malicious Software Removal Tool will be enough for most companies, there are certainly those who will find this offering (which is part of Microsoft’s Premium Support Services) a proverbial sigh of relief, as the industry slowly bids farewell to Windows XP.