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5.7m PCs in Thailand still running on Windows XP at risk
Publication Date : 12-10-2013
More than 5.7 million personal computers in Thailand are still at risk with just six months left before Microsoft ends support for the Windows XP operating system (OS.
Microsoft has reminded business users and consumers with PCs still running on Windows XP that it will officially retire service and support for the operating system next April 8, said Rachod Isarankura Na Ayuthaya, of Microsoft (Thailand)'s Windows Client Business Group.
With half a year left to this crucial milestone, there are more than 5.7 million PCs in Thailand - or nearly three in every 10 computers - that are still running on Windows XP, an 11-year-old operating system no longer capable of handling sophisticated cyber-attacks and demands for more data privacy and productivity, he said.
StatCounter figures for last month show that the Kingdom has one of the highest Windows XP installed bases in the Asia-Pacific region, at about 28 per cent of all PCs in the country. That is equivalent to an "alarming" figure of 5.7 million computers, which is higher than the population of Singapore, he said.
On the bright side, as of last month, consumers and businesses have been slowly upgrading to newer versions of the operating system, and at least 57 per cent of PCs are now on Windows 7 and 8 operating systems.
After April 8, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates and non-security-related fixes, and there will not be a number to call for technical assistance - or online technical content updates for Windows XP, Rachod said.
This means that users will no longer receive the updates that help protect PCs from harmful viruses, spyware and other malicious software, which may result in downtime and software-compatibility issues.
He added that while no one liked change, consumers and businesses needed to consider newer operating systems like Windows 7 or 8 to modernise their computing devices and stay safe from cyber-attacks and data loss.
With the typical deployment times for upgrades spanning from three to six months for small businesses, and more than six months for mid-sized businesses, Microsoft is very worried that companies in Thailand are cutting it too close to the end-of-service date, he said, adding that the company is committed to helping Thailand upgrade.
Thai companies such as Charansanitwong Printing - operating under the name Fast-Books - are already reaping the benefits of upgrading from Windows XP.
Explaining the decision to upgrade to Windows 8, managing director Thurdthoon Chaithurdthum said an additional benefit of migrating PCs to the latest Microsoft operating system was that Windows 8 comes with Windows Defender.
This free lifetime anti-virus and Internet security suite avoids the need to buy additional anti-virus software, saving the company in terms of purchasing costs as well as time to handle virus issues.
Industry analysts have been advising businesses to move away from Windows XP over the past years. Now, with six months to go before the end of service for Windows XP, they are stepping up their education efforts to drive a greater sense of urgency.
"Time is running out," says Handoko Andi, manager of Client Devices Research at IDC Asia/Pacific. "To make sure that PCs continue to be securely supported and operational, both consumers and businesses alike should be migrating to newer versions of the operating system now, given the termination of extended support for Windows XP in just six months' time."
Microsoft urges all business and consumers still using Windows XP to upgrade to either Windows 7 or Windows 8. According to the findings of its "Security Intelligence Report, Volume 14", released in April, Windows XP with Service Pack 3 is up to 56.5 times as vulnerable as Windows 8 RTM.
Customers can visit the Windows Upgrade Centre website, which features insights from analysts and customers on their XP OS migration journey, Rachod said.