University of Alberta

Microsoft Windows XP End-of-Life

Microsoft discontinued support for the Windows XP operating system on April 8, 2014. In order to mitigate the risks associated with continuing to run Windows XP, system owners and IT support providers should upgrade affected systems to a supported operating system.

Why is this important to me?

  • By continuing to use Windows XP with access to the network/internet, your system becomes vulnerable to exploits, which can lead to your information and data being compromised. One system running XP also puts all other machines on the same network at risk.

How will this affect me?

  • Software and hardware manufacturers are no longer building compatibility with Windows XP into their products. As such, increasingly more applications and devices do not work with computers still running Windows XP. Even existing software and peripheral hardware on your Windows XP computer will begin encountering issues as manufacturers no longer provide updates and fixes relative to Windows XP.

What are the risks of continuing to use Windows XP?

  • Without critical Windows XP security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information. Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you now that Windows XP is unsupported.

Why is the University not using Windows XP moving forward?

  • The continued use of Windows XP exposes University information, systems and personal data to serious risk.

What is the University proactively doing to mitigate the risks of Windows XP?

  • The University has implemented network monitoring to identify and report on Windows XP systems in our environment.

  • Starting on December 15, 2015, systems running Windows XP will no longer be able to access the Internet.

What about hardware/software that depends on Windows XP to function?

  • Business processes dependent on Windows XP installations will be reviewed by the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President - Information Services and Technology (VP-IST) and Chief Informaiton Security Officer (CISO) on a case by case basis. Where there are applications or devices that are dependent on XP and cannot be upgraded, appropriate risk mitigating security measures will be required, such as isolating the system from network access.

What about using a Windows XP virtual machine or XP Mode?

  • From a security standpoint, both Windows XP mode and Windows XP virtual machines pose the same risks and vulnerabilities as a native installation of XP, and must be upgraded to a supported operating system. Examples of supported operating systems are Windows 7 and Windows 8.

What should I do if I have a Windows XP machine?

  • You should contact your IT support team to verify that they are aware that this machine exists. They will work with you to develop a plan for upgrading your computer to a supported operating system.


If you have questions about this initiative, please contact the VP-IST or the CISO (at vpit@ualberta.ca). For questions of a technical nature, please contact your local IT support team or IST at ist@ualberta.ca or 780-492-9400.