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article imageLondon Metropolitan Police still uses 35,000 Windows XP computers

By James Walker     Apr 27, 2015 in Technology
A freedom of information request has revealed how prevalent the 14-year old Windows XP still is at key public businesses. The London Metropolitan Police force announced today that officers still use 35,000 XP machines, despite support ending a year ago.
Microsoft officially ended support for Windows XP last April after months of warnings and upgrade offers. The dated OS is now vulnerable to security exploits and doesn't receive any official updates but that hasn't put some people off continuing to use it.
It isn't hard to find a Windows XP computer still in use either at home or in a workplace today. Although XP's market-share has been declining recently to around 17 percent, Microsoft still needs Windows 10 to pull off the difficult task of convincing skeptical system administrators to upgrade while retaining support for legacy software.
Today, the Metropolitan Police Force illustrated just how integral Windows XP still is to many workplace IT systems. Responding to a Freedom of Information Request issued by technology news site Motherboard, the Force said: "We have currently got 35,640 Desktop and Laptop computers running Windows XP across all departments [within the force]."
The force has not yet responded to follow-up questions from Motherboard and has not issued any expected date for when it will stop using XP. In the meantime, the systems are vulnerable to un-patched security loopholes and can be more easily exploited by attackers than newer, generally-supported operating systems like Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
It is worth noting that the Met's systems will still be receiving critical security patches, unlike XP installs on consumer computers. Microsoft has continued to offer support for the OS to enterprises in return for hefty payments and it is believed that the UK government gave Microsoft around £5.5 million ($8.3 million) in exchange for this agreement last year.
Motherboard asked the MET for a breakdown of which departments were most heavily reliant on Windows XP but the force said that it was not possible to answer this question. It advised that the information "is not held" as many systems are shared between departments and accessed by many users.
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