Microsoft Patch Tuesday
From Old To New Microsoft Patch Tuesday Will Never Be The Same
The next patch Tuesday will be April 8th, 2014. This date has many ramifications in the loss of (security within) Windows XP and the further advancement of Windows 8.1. Windows XP will essentially cease to exist while Windows 8.1 finds ways to be more like what people have been accustomed to in a Windows OS. Windows 8 came about to embrace "touch-centric" computing but went too far out of the comfort zone for many of Microsoft's customers, which has led Microsoft to now make changes many people will welcome.
What Still Works Today In Windows XP And What Does NOT
It really is amazing that so many people still use Windows XP SP3 so long after Microsoft killed support for it. Well, they actually didn't kill support for that ever-so-popular Windows OS, they just "retired" support. There is a difference. Windows XP still receives certain (very few) updates which are considered to be critical by Microsoft (although the last was in June of 2017) because they know there is still a high enough number of computers running that Operating System to warrant a certain level of security related updates. Other than that last update - KB4025218 - which dealt with WannaCry and similar vulnerability exploits, there were a few others that month but none since unless Windows Defender is being used. We can't say that Windows Update is useful in Windows XP because it's sporadic at best so don't count on it. The simple fact is that Windows Update doesn't work in Windows XP to any real extent. You're probably not surprised and you shouldn't be but let's look at what still works today in Windows XP and what does NOT.
Windows XP Retirement
The fact that Windows XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft as of April 8, 2014 is not news, however there is still very large contingent of Windows XP users out there on the 'net. What this essentially means is that there will be a large group of people going into the month of April with a largely unsupported and soon to be unsecured Windows Operating System. There is only so much that can be done with the malware detection that might still be available for a time and there is only so much that can be done within the Windows XP system itself in efforts to prevent Zero Day Attacks. The fact of the matter is once we get very far into April Windows XP will be very far into a very insecure existence and that means the users of that system will also face potentially extreme security problems on the 'net (notice the indicative darkness of the Windows xp image above).
Firefox for Windows 8 Touch and Aurora Beta
Mozilla has been working on a touch - friendly version of Firefox for essentially 2 years, and they have just released the beta version of Firefox 28 (.0b1) which purportedly includes changes to the UI which make it more appropriate for touchscreens. That's not all - Mozilla has been very busy also releasing Aurora (firefox-29.0a2) -which is a "pre-beta"- on the same day. There are distinct differences between these 2 versions of the New Firefox and yet both are essentially going through initial testing by beta testers so the differences in the end and the notable changes won't be know until the next release. Mozilla reports that on March 18, 2014 the Windows 8 touch version should be ready for release and Aurora should be in "beta" but it's not clear if all of the anticipated functionality will be available at that time.
Windows 7 is Here to Stay
Windows 7 won't go away quite as soon as a Microsoft OS "normally would" after the next OS release (in this case the Windows 8 release). Windows XP was released December 31, 2001 and it was essentially five years before Windows Vista was released on January 30, 2007. Windows 7 was released on October 22, 2009, meaning less than three years between new versions of Microsoft operating systems being released. The end of sales for Windows Vista was exactly one year after the end of sales for Windows XP, however the end of sales for Windows 7 has an end of sales date "to be determined" which is likely to have nothing to do with Windows Vista. It is far more likely that this has to do with the marketing strength of Windows 8.