Windows XP is finally a Norwegian Blue -

Software giant Microsoft has finally pulled the plug on its most successful product and said that it will not support Windows XP any more.

The support deadline for Windows XP support means millions of machines worldwide are at risk from security threats. The writing has been on the wall for XP for years. However, Microsoft has been unsuccessfully trying to wean its users off their addiction to the OS. The latest figures show that nearly a quarter of the world's PCs still run XP.

It has been a pretty long run. The operating system was released to manufacturing on August 24, 2001 and development was started in the late 1990s.

Prototype code was nicknamed named "Neptune" and was an operating system built on the Windows NT kernel which was intended for consumers. An updated version of Windows 2000 was also originally planned for the business market. In January 2000, both projects were shelved in favour of a single OS codenamed "Whistler". This meant that the OS could be used in both business and consumer environments.

It introduced a significantly redesigned graphical user interface and was the first version of Windows to use product activation in an effort to reduce software piracy. Given it was pirated to oblivion you see how that worked out.

Windows XP also proved to be popular among users; by January 2006, over 400 million copies of Windows XP were in use and was the most widely used operating system until August 2012, when Windows 7 overtook it

The much-extended deadline falls on the same day as Patch Tuesday, giving Vole a chance to release updates for the platform. However, after that there will be no more updates for those without custom support.

One of those with a custom support agreement is the UK government, which has paid Vole £5.5 million to keep public sector organisations covered. The Dutch government also signed a similar deal.

For the rest of the world it will be a great time to target XP systems because there will be no protection short of virus checkers.