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As Windows XP SP2 end of support draws near, it’s time for action

Time to act isn't now, it was yesterday, says Softchoice

Solution provider Softchoice Corp. (TSE: SO) is encouraging customers to deploy Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) or Windows 7 as end of support for Service Pack 2 (SP2) draws near.

According to a research note from Softchoice, which looked at a total of 278,498 corporate and public sector PCs from 117 organizations across the U.S. and Canada, almost half of them (45 per cent) are still running Windows XP SP2. This data was collected and analyzed by Softchoice from January to June of 2010.

On July 13, 2010, Windows XP SP2 will reach end of support. And on this day Windows 2000 Professional and Windows Server 2000 will also reach end of support.

In a previous interview with CDN, Elliot Katz, senior product manager for Windows client at Microsoft Canada (NASDAQ: MSFT), said with end of support, Microsoft will no longer provide support or updates for the above versions, unless customers install the latest service packs or upgrade to Windows 7.

“The main impact on end-users when a product reaches end of support is that updates, which include security patches, are no longer delivered to the operating systems,” Katz said. “We want customers to know they can upgrade to SP3 (with Windows XP) or Windows 7. SP3 is a free download, but if customers don’t have the bandwidth, they can order the DVD from us and just pay the shipping and handling.”

Dean Williams, services development manager at Softchoice, said based upon findings from its most recent research note around Windows XP SP2, Softchoice is taking on a mission of education to help spread awareness to its customers that the end of support date is drawing near.

“This becomes less of a nice to know and more of a need to know,” Williams said. “This is a mission of education for us and our customers. In our opinion, the problem doesn’t stem from people not wanting to deploy SP3, it’s just that they don’t know what service pack they’re currently using. This then becomes a problem involving people and processes.”

With no more security patches or updates after July 13, Williams said the customers that fail to migrate to the new service pack or new operating system will be exposed to potential security risks and attacks. In addition to this, those customers also won’t have access to software development kits and the functionality that goes along with it.

Customers and partners should start taking a look at their environments to see what operating system they’re currently running, Williams advises.

“The time isn’t now, it was yesterday,” Williams said. “The opportunity for us, as a partner, is to make sure customers are aware of what end of support means and letting them know the impact it’ll have on them and then to help our customers put things like policies and processes in place.”

Follow Maxine Cheung on Twitter: @MaxineCheungCDN.