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Microsoft issues partners Windows XP phase-out marching orders

Summary: Microsoft is rolling out new programs and incentives to encourage its resellers to help it move its still-sizable base of Windows XP users off that operating system by April 2014.

Mary Jo Foley

By  for All About Microsoft |

As Microsoft officials reminded the company’s reseller partners on July 8, there are only 273 more days until the Redmondians drop all support for Windows XP.
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Starting April 8, 2014, there will be no more patches or updates — including security ones — issued for Windows XP. This is despite the fact that Windows XP still had an estimated 37 percent share of all desktop operating systems as of June 2013.

Microsoft and its partners have a lot of work to do between now and then to try to get more businesses off Windows XP. During the first day of the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, officials reminded resellers and systems integrators of their marching orders around the 11-year-old operating system.

Microsoft’s top Windows priorities for its fiscal year 2014 (which began on July 1, 2013) are to move all businesses off XP and to become the number one business tablet in the market, said Erwin visser, General Manager of Windows Commercial, during a breakout session at the show.

Microsoft and its partners would need to migrate 586,000 PCs per day over the next 273 days in order to get rid of all PCs running Windows XP, Visser said. Microsoft’s actual goal is to get the XP base below 10 percent of the total Windows installed base by that time, he said.

Visser told partners that there’s an estimated $32 billion service opportunity for them in moving users off XP, given that companies are spending an average of $200 per PC to move off XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Microsoft is making available new programs, offers, tools and partnerships to help encourage more users to abandon XP, Visser said. He noted that Microsoft will be spending $40 million in fiscal 2014 to continue its Windows Accelerate Program, which is its pre-sales program for moving more of its customers to a “modern environment.” As part of Accelerate, Microsoft pays some of its reseller and integrator partners to create “proof of concept” Metro-Style apps to show customers what’s possible if they move to Windows 8.

Microsoft also is extending its  program called “Get to Modern,” which is aimed primarily at small/mid-size business (SMB) users. Visser said these kinds of users typically don’t plan two to three years ahead for major migrations. As a result, many of these SMBs who still may be running Windows XP, will need partners to help them institute a quick-turnaround XP migration program.

HP and Microsoft also are working together on a new joint XP migration campaign. Details of that program — which include specially priced HP ElitePads preloaded with Windows 8 for those agreeing to move off XP to Windows 8, are available on the hp.com/goodbyeXP site.

Microsoft officials also touted at the partner conference another new program known asTouchWins, which is a new channel incentive for featured Windows devices. Authorized distributors and resellers who sell PCs and tablets with Windows 8 Pro and touch will qualify for additional benefits, as outlined here.

cybersecurity-computersThe National Security Agency – NSA has backdoor access via Microsoft Windows, to all Windows software since the release of Windows 95, according to informed sources, a development which follows the insistence by the agency and federal law enforcement for backdoor “keys” to any encryption, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Having such “keys” is essential for the export of any encryption allowed under U.S. export control laws to foreign users.

The NSA plays a prominent role in deliberations over whether such products can be exported, and routinely turns down any requests above a certain megabyte level that exceeds NSA’s technical capacity to decrypt it. That’s been the standard for years for NSA, as well as the departments of Defense, Commerce and State.

Computer security specialists say that the Windows software driver used for security and encryption functions contains unusual features which give NSA that backdoor access.

These security specialists have identified the driver as ADVAPI.DLL. It enables and controls a variety of security functions. These specialists say that on Windows, it is located at C:\\Windows\system directory of anyone’s computer that uses Windows software.

Nicko van Someren says the driver contains two different keys. One was used by Microsoft to control cryptographic functions in Windows while another initially remained a mystery.

Then, two weeks ago, a U.S. security firm concluded that the second key belonged to NSA. Analysis of the driver revealed that one was labeled KEY while the other was labeled NSAKEY, according to sources. The NSA key apparently had been built into the software by Microsoft, which Microsoft sources don’t deny.

This has allowed restricted access to Microsoft’s source code software that allows for such programming.

Access to Windows source code is supposed to be highly compartmentalized, actually making such actions easier because many of the people working on the software wouldn’t see the access.

Such access to the encryption system of Windows can allow NSA to compromise a person’s entire operating system. The NSA keys are said to be contained inside all versions of Windows from Windows 95 OSR2 onwards.

Having such the secret key inside your Windows operating system makes it “tremendously easier for the NSA to load unauthorized security services on all copies of Microsoft Windows, and once these security services are loaded, they can effectively compromise your entire operating system,” according to Andrew Fernandez, chief scientist with Cryptonym Corporation of North Carolina.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/nsa-has-total-access-via-microsoft-windows/#uyrJq3632dZFTerF.99

By Gregg Keizer, Computerworld
Windows XP Desktop
On the same day Microsoft loudly proclaims Windows 8 in New York, the aging-but-still-going Windows XP today quietly celebrated its 11th birthday.On Oct. 25, 2001, Microsoft launched Windows XP, unknowingly unleashing its most successful operating system ever.If they only could do the same today, the company’s executives must think as they assemble for a day-long Windows 8 launch party.“It was a good operating system,” said David Johnson, an analyst with Forrester, in an interview today. “It was a very, very good operating system … a superb OS because it removed a lot of pain.” Read more