Windows XP deadline to leave 10 per cent of government PCs vulnerable

Aging XP will put thousands of PCs at risk

10 per cent of US government computers will still be running risky Windows XP after the April 8 support deadline, despite having a six year heads-up on Microsoft's plans.

With an estimated four million government computers in the US alone, thousands of systems will be made vulnerable to an increasing number of attacks. Some of these computers even house classified military and diplomatic networks, according to the Washington Post.

While these computers are usually highly protected, the lack of security updates after 8 April could open doors for hackers, who will see XP as a sitting duck.

The UK is in a similar boat, with many NHS and HMRC computers expected to run Windows XP after the deadline passes. This is due to painfully slow migration plans.

Microsoft is offering a paid support extension for governments and businesses, but this service could prove more costly in the long run than upgrading to Windows 7 or 8. Some also believe this support will be a far cry from the standard free support it currently offers.

Upgrade incentive

Private companies and individual users are even further down the upgrade chart, with roughly 20 per cent of computers throughout the world still running on XP.

Microsoft is offering a $50 (£30, AU$55) digital gift card in the Microsoft Store for anyone who abandons their old Windows XP rig and buys a new machine before the end of April.

The software giant is also offering 90 days free premium phone, chat and sales support, and free data migration via Laplink.

The deal is the latest effort by Microsoft to get users to leave behind the popular Windows XP operating system, which is almost 13 years old. The lack of support could spur sales for Windows 8, which has had some difficulties enticing desktop users due to its Metro interface.

Computers still operating XP after the 8 April deadline will become increasingly vulnerable to exploits and malware. Microsoft and security experts have been urging everyone to upgrade as soon as possible.