back to article Microsoft fears XP could cause Indian BANKOCALYPSE

The Indian banking industry could be facing a partial meltdown after Microsoft revealed new research claiming over 34,000 publicly-funded bank branches are still reliant on Windows XP. The report from Ascentius Consulting revealed that XP penetration in the banking sector is at 40-70 per cent. Some 34,115 branches were singled …

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  1. rav

    XP 2.0?

    Seems to me Microsoft should seriously consider XP 2.0. Why not fix it? Folks sure don't want Win 8. I know that I don't want win 8. So much in fact that when my 2009 vintage Lenovo T500 laptop died I found 2 more online exactly like it to bung in the XP hard drive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Running scared Y2K

      Just like in 2000 when all the computers in the world were supposed to reset themselves and cause chaos.

      It became a non-event.

      1. RealBigAl

        Re: Running scared Y2K

        There was a massive amount of work put in prior to y2k to ensure risks were actualy known or fixed. It was a non event because of the work put in to fix issues, not because there were no issues

        1. Primus Secundus Tertius

          Re: Running scared Y2K

          It was a non-event because all the Y2K promoters were bingeing their ill-gotten gains on an immense best-forgotten blowout and were oblivious to all problems for a few days.

      2. Amorous Cowherder
        Facepalm

        Re: Running scared Y2K

        "It became a non-event."

        You were obviously too young to be a part of it and must have read this bullshit statement off some website somewhere!

        We spent 18 months at my tiny little shop checking everything from software to kettles ( seriously, we did have sign off Y2K on things that didn't even have clocks! ), signing everything off at least 2-3 months before the grand date. Come the glorious night of 31st 1999 some of us didn't get to see the fireworks or drink champagne as we were sitting in offices watching system clocks tick over and making sure the world didn't come to a screaming halt!

        That's why it was a non-event, millions of people worked hard to make sure it was a non-event so when everyone awoke to their hangovers in 2000 the planes hadn't fallen from the sky and you could still go down TESCO and get your 1st Jan 2000 newspaper!

        1. Robert Helpmann??
          Childcatcher

          Re: Running scared Y2K

          That's why it was a non-event, millions of people worked hard to make sure it was a non-event...

          I worked for a bank at that time and had the joy of watching the fireworks from the top of one of our buildings because our shareholders wanted reassuring. Of course, the CEO was busy enjoying the festivities elsewhere... Anyway, banks are extremely risk averse when it comes to changing technology. Changing the OS their business uses to make profits requires more than its support being withdrawn. The only things I can think of that will reliably cause a bank to make a change of that scope are a loss of profits deriving from the OS, and a merger. Come to think of it, I know of some banks that fought changing their OS as part of a merger.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Running scared Y2K

            "Anyway, banks are extremely risk averse "

            Why are they running windows anything?

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Running scared Y2K

          " ( seriously, we did have sign off Y2K on things that didn't even have clocks! )"

          Was that not a clue that at least some of this 18 month marathon was actually unnecessary?

          I'm sure IBM's mainframe division did sterling work in keeping up their systems, but that was a purely internal matter for IBM. In the more open PC world, where most of the y2k analysts lived and worked, there was never much to worry about in the first place. Most software that had to handle dates had needed to handle post-2000 dates long before y2k. Most of the rest was never likely to cause more than minor inconvenience.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Running scared Y2K

            >"Most software that had to handle dates had needed to handle post-2000 dates long before y2k."

            Like Excel, which whilst it could handle post-2000 dates doing stuff with them could be problematic ...

            Actually what Y2K made every one realise was just how many things now had clocks/calendars in them and we didn't know what the impact might be when things rolled over - hence why the net was widely caste.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Running scared Y2K

            "Most software that had to handle dates had needed to handle post-2000 dates long before y2k. Most of the rest was never likely to cause more than minor inconvenience."

            Amongst other things, without updates most spreadsheets running on Windows would start giving subtley wrong answers after y2k.

            That's even worse that failing entirely, as was the fact that a lot of security systems treated 9/9/99 as an impossible date and shut down that day (many stayed that way until restarted), or that a lot of systems running NTP broke in late February 2008 as the standard implementation treated the time as a signed long instead of an unsigned one

            Let you think that NTPbreaking is minor, it was on unix systems, but it caused ALL routers built on Allied Telesyn code to start crash cycling. As a result 80% of china's IP backbone was out of action for ~ 12 hours. Analysis of the issue came from New Zealand within 30 minutes of things breaking starting but it takes time to disable NTP on 200,000 routers which are crashing every 90 seconds.

          3. Sandra Greer

            Re: Running scared Y2K

            IBM didn't do all the work for mainframe systems. Every big bank and insurance company set up a group to go through all their mainframe code and identify date error potential (and get it fixed). One common error besides the 2-digit date (which most of us had coded for) was the fact that 2000 was NOT a leap year -- an exception. We used scan packages to find mentions of dates, but each hit had to be reviewed by a human. Followed by changed and tested, of course.

            I also got to write scan code for the non-COBOL systems. That was a lot of fun. Most of them were written in C and would be OK until the date overflowed in 2036 (if I remember correctly), but there were also a lot of STRUCT definitions that were dodgy. There are tons of other languages used by various systems, and lots of screen scraping. A fun time was had by all. Any problems found were referred to the system owners.

            The management of this enormous mess was also a challenge. When the final hours came, I was there in the secret control centre with top management, running Lotus Domino servers and taking reports from all over the globe. It was exciting, and nothing very terrible happened.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Running scared Y2K

          > That's why it was a non-event, millions of people worked hard to make sure it was a non-event so when everyone awoke to their hangovers in 2000 the planes hadn't fallen from the sky and you could still go down TESCO and get your 1st Jan 2000 newspaper!

          Indeed, and perhaps I could add that we did indeed find a lot of problems, particularly with PC bioses, with an upgrade being mostly all that was required.

          We did have one customer that had an automatic pricing machine at a photofinishers run by an old PC. It couldn't be BIOS upgraded at all and the manufacturer had gone out of business. The PC itself had to be replaced and all the hardware retro-fitted.

          The Y2K situation was a big deal for a lot of people.

        4. gnufrontier

          Re: Running scared Y2K

          Oh, spare me. That work needed to be done anyway and should have been done sooner. It wasn't like anybody didn't know that the year 2000 was coming. Just because businesses left everything to the last minute don't expect to be lauded for your sacrifice or whatever you think you were doing in solving a problem that was the product of short sightedness anyway. The only question to ask is , Was it worth saving the two bytes ?

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Running scared Y2K

        Some did.

        I had a couple of law firm customers whose ancient *nix machines kept resetting their clocks to 1970 at each reboot. They put up with it because they didn't reboot often and they had a migration plan in the wings.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: XP 2.0?

      XP 2.0... like W7 then?

      1. Chika

        Re: XP 2.0?

        Not really. Having been part of a migration from XP to W7, I can tell you that there are plenty of pitfalls to migrating directly between the two.

        1. Drivers. Let's face it, not every device you may have used under WXP will have drivers on W7 and the existing WXP drivers, while some might actually work, quite a lot don't. You end up with the headache of how to work around this or, in extreme situations, replace.

        2. Bad programming. To be honest, this is not directly a Windows fault but it goes back to the bad old days where a programmer expects all users to be running as a default administrator straight out of the box and does not plan services properly. This causes all sorts of problems with file access, database access and in some extremes profile access.

        3. Functionality changes. Not every single WXP option or control has its analogue in W7 and, when they do, it isn't quite what you expect. One example was the "root certificates" which, on WXP, was updated regularly as a Windows Update patch but, on W7 and Vista, is supposed to be updated on the fly as it is needed which does not account for possible security issues. This leads to plenty of certificate errors on otherwise legitimate sites.

        That's before we get to the "where did x function or y control go" which is a problem with every update of Windows since the very beginning.

        Yes, WXP to W7 is a good way to go on the whole, but it's not a painless procedure and it certainly couldn't be called WXP V2.0, though given W8 and all that has occurred, I can still see W7 taking hold of the market for a similar amount of time, despite Microsoft's bullying tactics when it comes to selling systems.

        1. Greg D

          Re: XP 2.0?

          None of these things are unknown. Any IT department with a clue will be able to workaround them and migrate to XP, the only barrier being cost.

          I say this having worked for two very different companies migrating to W7.

          - You build a deployment infrastructure (MS deployment tools are ALL free) - you dont really need a powerful box either, just a lot of storage

          - You identify legacy apps that *might* not work, and put in workarounds to get them working (these vary depending on the issue) - all else fails? Build a VDI.

          - You build a driver repository with 32 AND 64bit drivers in this infrastructure

          - You deploy and point anyone with a question about "where do I find X" to the MS help & support pages

          1. Matt 21

            Re: XP 2.0?

            While I agree that XP 2.0 would be a good idea I'm not sure where this apocalypse will come from. PCs that worked before will continue to work as will all applications. The only risk I can see is that they will become more vulnerable as there will be no further patches.

            On the other hand anti-virus software could and probably will be used to block attacks so I doubt we'll see much difference. All the major banks I've worked for in Blighty are also still using a lot of XP so I assume they're thinking the same (or possibly not thinking at all).

            In fact most XP machines I've worked on are a long way off being up to date with patches but nearly all are up to date with anti-virus software.

          2. BongoJoe

            Re: XP 2.0?

            Any IT department with a clue will be able to workaround them and migrate to XP, the only barrier being cost.

            Exactly. (my emphasis)

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: XP 2.0?

          Windows 7

          Great, you cannot run full screen MS DOS .exes

          NETBIOS removed

          2 huge fails.

          1. John Tserkezis

            Re: XP 2.0?

            "Windows 7. Great, you cannot run full screen MS DOS .exes"

            Try Windows 7 x64. It won't run ANY of my old dos code. I've been meaning to port some of it anyway.

      2. BongoJoe

        Re: XP 2.0?

        XP 2.0... like W7 then?

        Yes, but without the newly introduced features which tend to get in the way. In fact, a good XP2 would be XP with a few of its bugs killed.

        Adding new bugs and bits that annoy users is not the way to encourage take-up. If W7 worked as promised then there would be about three XP machines left running in the UK. The fact that there's a strong reluctance to regrade must indicate to someone that there's not a real compelling reason other than scary stories of trolls under the bridge watiting for the unwary who don't have Aero to protect them.

        I would be a massive fan of W7 if the following basic conditions were met:

        1. It would run as fast as XP

        2. XP Compability mode were compatable with, say, XP

        3. The networking would be stable and not lose shares, machines or even forget where the machine was

        4. That File Explorer would refresh if two, or more, instances were open

        The last two, I would have thought, were basic and relatively easy to solve. The second should have been mandatory before W7 left the 'manufacturing plant' and the first point, whilst I can't expect miracles, it ought to come close.

        Fix these four things and I will say Goodbye to XP forever.

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: XP 2.0?

        >XP 2.0... like W7 then?

        No more like XP-SP4 plus the additional functionality that MS could of and should of released for XP but decided on commercial grounds to only release with Vista and W7. Remember the purpose of XP 2.0 would be to not introduce lots of new things, but to get paid for maintaining XP Pro (32-bit only?) for another 10+ years.

        So the launch 'product' itself is more of a new licence key combined with a Windows Update.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: XP 2.0?

        XP 2.0... like W7 then?

        Windows 7 - Aero + Classic Shell

        That gets close.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: XP 2.0?

      re: 2009 vintage Lenovo T500 laptop died

      Yes, my 2008 T60 (Core 2 T7200) with a 1400x1050 screen running XP is living on borrowed time, but these higher spec'd systems don't seem to come up for sale very often.

      The scary thing is that it's UI (trackpad, screen etc.) seems so much more responsive and precise compared to a new HP 650 (i3-2328M) running Windows 8 provided by a client - this isn't a dig at Win8 (although there are features I don't like) but that I found the newer system less satisfying and slower to use.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: XP 2.0?

      "Seems to me Microsoft should seriously consider XP 2.0. Why not fix it?"

      They did. It's called Windows 7. Migration is a well proven exercise with very few unknowns at this point....

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: XP 2.0?

        Migration is a well proven exercise with very few unknowns at this point....

        And a price tag that would go a long way towards buying a new PC.

        If Microsoift were serious about getting people off XP they'd offer W7 upgrades for $50, but they'd obviously prefer to line their distributors pockets with cash from people forced to buy new PCs instead.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: XP 2.0?

      Or rather, Windows FLP 2.0?

      This was a cut down XP for Pentium 2s etc. that allowed some corporates to migrate from Windows 98 onto the XP kernel.

    6. BillG
      Flame

      Re: XP 2.0?

      Microsoft should include a hidden XP update that forces XP users to auto-sign up for a Google+ account if they don't upgrade. Windows 8 sales will skyrocket!

  2. Mr. Peterson

    fear

    it's what's for dinner!

    1. Chika
      Happy

      Re: fear

      Delicious and nutritious. Tastes just like chicken.

  3. RAMChYLD

    Cloud?

    Businesses DON'T WANT the cloud, unless the cloud is in their own datacenters. Companies are extremely finicky about letting people hold their trade secrets and other confidential documents, especially after all these NSA spying hoohah. Microsoft should get that into the thick head of theirs.

    1. Haku

      Re: Cloud?

      Not only the hoohah over the spying issues, using the cloud when you could have your own in-house datacenter means your business is reliant on two different 3rd party services, the cloud and your internet provider. It might save the business a bit of money if things go smoothly, but if they don't then you could be galloping up diarrhea drive without a saddle.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cloud?

        I work in a bank that still uses XP, we have been using "the cloud" for as long as anyone can remember, even back in our OS/2 days. No documents are held locally on any machine, all files are on robust, backed up, network shares in the datacentres. You work on a laptop, you either VPN onto teh network, or store the bare minimum on an encrypted drive.

        It isn't called the cloud, and all our files aren't held by a third party, but it seems to be pretty much the same thing. No windows 8.1 needed!

    2. vonRat

      Re: Cloud?

      Especially small businesses that will be forced to use cloud Email with the demise of SBS 2011, or buy a full version of Exchange.

  4. Gray
    Devil

    One final XP patch!

    Given the awful truth facing those unwilling or unable to upgrade to Windows 8.1, with the unspeakable collateral damage to innocent customers and bystanders, there is only one obvious solution which is paramount to saving the world: one final XP patch in April, 2014.

    It will retract the OS license and wipe the XP drive.

    Problem over. Call 1-900-BUY-MORE for assistance.

  5. frank ly

    Don't panic, until we tell you to.

    " Microsoft said failure to migrate would mean banks not being able to support biometric readers, ...."

    Isn't this about drivers for the readers? If so, the manufacturers had better write some XP drivers; or maybe Linux drivers :)

  6. wolfetone Silver badge

    Is the new Indian Mars probe running Windows XP? I'd like to see how they can do an upgrade to Windows 8 on that thing.

    Oh no wait, you can't upgrade. You have to do a full clean install....

    1. dogged

      You can upgrade if it's 32bit to 32bit or 64bit to 64bit but you can't cross the streams.

      1. Nigel 11

        Don't you have to upgrade from 32bit XP to Vista-32 first, then 7-32, then is there a 32-bit 8? It's probably about 24 hours "work" answering the odd question every 20 minutes or so. And if you believe anything will still be working after that completes ....

        There's no direct upgrade path from 32-bit XP to 64-bit Windows 7 (or 8). Why not, Microsoft only knows. It's not as if nobody wanted it. They'd even pay for it.

        As for that April deadline, it's like the USA debt ceiling. I'm 99% sure they'll take it to the wire, and then announce another year's support. That'll probably happen twice. Because the world's governments aren't going to make the deadline, and they will quietly explain to Microsoft what will be the consequences to Microsoft of not providing XP updates past next April. By which I mean, punitive (multi-billion) fines for abuse of a their monopoly, and terminal loss of government contracts. If you have to do an emergency migration anyway, why not migrate to Linux, and never again be held to ransom by a monopolist's finger on the kill switch?

        1. dogged

          > Don't you have to upgrade from 32bit XP to Vista-32 first, then 7-32, then is there a 32-bit 8?

          No.

          You can go straight from XP to 8 (and yes, there is an 8 32bit).

          1. Richard Jones 1
            FAIL

            XP to Windows H8

            No it is not that easy. In MS's infinite lack of wisdom, perfectly usable hardware cannot run on Windows H8 'in your interests' because it does not have the DEP type functions on the processor. You might go to Windows 7 or Linux but NOT Windows H8. The fact that 8 will not work with most of the other hardware in a heterogeneous network is yet another reason to avoid 8 like the plague.

            The attempts to force cloud take up is yet another, all clouds are good for is thunderstorms, hail and floods. No thank you, I see another off site storage company has just taken gamers money and data to the scrap yard, what a great idea this 'who knows what, where, when and for how long' storage idea must be.

            No touch not cloudy, no new interface rubbish, wow is XP the new operating system of choice?

            1. Sandtitz Silver badge
              Thumb Down

              Re: XP to Windows H8 @Richard

              Why are you even contemplating on upgrading ancient computers to Windows 8?

              I wouldn't bother even with Windows 7 on Pentium4/Athlon era CPU, and you'd still be limited to 32 bit OS on those processors.

              What a complete non-issue.

        2. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Boffin

          @Nigel 11

          "There's no direct upgrade path from 32-bit XP to 64-bit Windows 7 (or 8). Why not, Microsoft only knows. It's not as if nobody wanted it. They'd even pay for it."

          Before lambasting Microsoft's policies, can you give examples of upgrading a 32-bit desktop OS from ca. 2001 to a 64-bit OS from 2012?

          How many Linux distros support jumping from 32-bit to 64-bit when upgrading?

          Next, try to upgrade your Fedora Core 1 (from 2003) to the latest 64-bit version. Jumping through the hoops may in theory be possible but I certainly would start from scratch.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So MS Channel Sales

    Man the phones, get those meetings and bug the hell out of the banking IT managers into selling their first born so they can purchase shiny new windows licences earning you a nice fat commission.

    Meanwhile in a parallel universe. The ever resourceful Indian nation who are able to send a mission to Mars for £45M, go FU MS are you joking a that price ? No thanks we'll go Linux .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So MS Channel Sales

      "so they can purchase shiny new windows licences earning you a nice fat commission."

      The vast majority of companies will be paying for software assurance (support and maintenance) so no new licences will be required....

  8. btrower

    Windows Lite

    Suggested this before, but they should release an upgrade for this that will run on the existing hardware but limit it so that it does not cannibalize sales otherwise. They would make a mountain of money at a stroke, report a couple of quarters of spectacular earnings to goose up the stock price, sell their shares and flee that sinking ship.

  9. Mikel
    Pirate

    Nice bank you got here

    It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it.

  10. ISYS

    Don't Panic!

    XP IS NOT going to stop working in 100 days time.

    Also I am sure that the Indian banks are using more 'up to date' back end technology. All XP is used for is as desktop. It will continue to run most applications and with a browser it can access the internet and the cloud. If they really needed to upgrade they would probably go for Windows 7.

    Microsoft are sh1tting themselves because, like the rest of us, no businesses in their right mind wan't to purchase Windows 8.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't Panic!

      +1 All that will happen is that uSoft will no longer provide patches for any newly emerging zero day. Given how long xp has been around and how generally robust it is I fail to see the need for panic .. Except of course for the uSoft account reps who can't sell the upgrade.

      1. dogged

        Re: Don't Panic!

        The problem lies in the shared codebase between XP, Vista, W7 and W8.x (and incidentally 2K but that's already officially dead).

        Assume MS release a patch for a serious exploit which allows a remote user to take over the computer entirely without security prompting (bear with me, extreme examples are more fun).

        The first thing your average malware writer is going to do is notice that this patch isn';t issued for XP because it's "dead" and then try the zploit against the nearest XP box. If it works, it's unpatchable (because dead) and all those machines in banks are open for the rape and pillage.

        You can be as smug as you like about your XP install. If it's not kept in a cellar with no ethernet access, no mouse, keyboard or available ports and nobody allowed near the damn thing, it is absolutely not secure.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't Panic!

          @dogged

          Isn't that true for ALL microsoft OS?

          1. dogged

            Re: Don't Panic!

            @Ivan 4

            Yes, and all other OS too. Nothing is secure unless it's secured. As usual, to those who say that linux is secure I present exhibit A, Eadon's blog.

            The problem with XP is that after it EOLs, it cannot be secured.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Don't Panic!

              "The problem with XP is that after it EOLs, it cannot be secured."

              That is also it's strength!!!

              We all know that an OS is insecure and because XP cannot be secured through Windows Update, I expect people will take extra care with security. Whereas with a version in support, well MS will provide security updates.

              However, the above doesn't take account of the typical PC user who doesn't work in IT.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't Panic!

          @dogged. You are correct. The machines will not be absolutely secure but you know what ? Big Fat Hairy Deal. Security isn't an all or nothing proposition. It's a dispassionate assessment of the risk, likelihood and consequences. So what are the risks of a new zero day XP bug showing up ? What's the likelihood of it getting into the bank and finally, what consequence is there ? Now without actually knowing, I'm prepared to wager that these are desktops not financial servers we're talking about here. So is there a risk ? Yes probably but I bet it's low and you know what ? If it is actualized (a zero day is discovered) then the. Bank can take remedial steps.

          The sky will not fall.

          1. dogged

            Re: Don't Panic!

            @Nicho

            The point is due diligence and risk assessment.

            There is absolutely NO FUCKING WAY any company with an internet connection can get XP through any reasonable risk assessment after April 2014. It cannot be done.

            Now assume that $BADGUYS do crack your beloved XP system and make off with %MONEYZ.

            You have failed your risk assessment and are liable to the shareholders for the whole lot plus punitive damages.

            Enjoy.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Don't Panic!

              "NO FUCKING WAY any company with an internet connection can get XP through any reasonable risk assessment after April 2014. It cannot be done."

              What, not even with Windows fucking XP fucking Emfuckingbedded?

              1. dogged

                Re: Don't Panic!

                Embedded is a different matter.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Don't Panic!

                  "Embedded is a different matter."

                  XP ordinary vs XP Embedded: same OS, same security issues, same patches needed.

                  Different licence. Allegedly different EOL.

      2. Euripides Pants
        Windows

        Re: Don't Panic!

        "Given how long xp has been around and how generally robust it is I fail to see the need for panic .. "

        Yep, that's what happens when MS accidentally makes something good.

  11. Fihart

    Mass starvation and widespread looting.

    As Sainsbury's supermarket self-serve checkouts crash due to beyond sell-by date Microsoft Windows (is it XP ? -- can't see for the blue screen).

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: Mass starvation and widespread looting.

      The self service tills are running on XP... I saw one displaying the default XP screen saver at the weekend.

    2. Superavi

      Re: Mass starvation and widespread looting.

      The self service tills might run XP embedded. Give that looting a couple of years more as XPe support runs out in 2016.

      1. Philippe

        Re: Mass starvation and widespread looting.

        We tried to be clever and ask for licence change on our XP boxes.

        Basically changing from XP to XPe in order to get the 2 years of additional support.

        Microsoft asks 150 pounds per box for the privilege. Well we'll be late with the changeover then..

    3. Ommerson

      Re: Mass starvation and widespread looting.

      The software on these terminals is laughably dated too (as well has having appalling usability). Yet supermarkets are still buying more of the same old crap.

      Presumably the other thing that will change with the discontinuation of Windows XP is MS supplied drivers for new hardware - there will come a time when XP just can't run on modern PCs.

  12. Dan 55 Silver badge
    FAIL

    MS just don't know what to say to sell Windows 8

    Microsoft warned that large numbers of branches could find themselves unable to serve their customers, especially in rural and semi-rural areas.

    [...]

    "The move to a modern OS like Windows 8.1 will not only alleviate the risks for users and businesses but will also open up opportunities posed by modern technology, like the cloud"

    If you wanted to not be able to serve your customers in rural and semi-rural areas in India, I could think of nothing more up to the job than a cloud-based solution. That's if you ever manage to download the 3.5Gb update to Windows 8.1 in the first place.

    1. Tim 11

      RE: MS just don't know what to say to sell Windows 8

      "...a modern OS like Windows 8.1".

      Not _actually_ Windows 8.1 but _like_ it -- in other words, Windows 7.

  13. Alienrat

    Unless this is a threat

    And on that last day they switch off all the activation servers and it becomes impossible to activate any new instances of XP

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Unless this is a threat

      Can't do that without releasing a free update that free's XP from the activation servers, otherwise MS would be in breech of the XP licence agreement...

  14. Frank Rysanek

    ReactOS or Linux

    Maybe the Indian banks should fund some ReactOS developers... or just migrate to Linux. The pain might be on par with migrating to Win8. Linux can run an office suite, Linux can run an SSH session to the back-end mainframe, Linux can run a browser, Java apps run just fine in Linux... so unless the bank has lots of software written in MS .NET or ActiveX, migration shouldn't hurt all that much.

    The one area where the Win32 work-alikes (ReactOS and Wine) lag behind true MS Windows, are all sorts of crypto/security services of the OS. This is a major drawback for even simple business apps, written for the MS environment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ReactOS or Linux

      If they're anything like corporates I've dealt with in the last few years, they probably have a web front end that only works on a certain version of IE.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ReactOS or Linux

        If they're anything like corporates I've dealt with in the last few years, they probably have a web front end that only works on a certain version of IE.

        Such as IE 6? There's a script for that.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. tirk
      Unhappy

      "...multi-trillion dollar liabilities at the hands of the Indian government"?

      If it's anything like the action taken against Union Carbide after the Bhopal disaster, MS won't be worried in the slightest.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "...multi-trillion dollar liabilities at the hands of the Indian government"?

        Are you seriously suggesting that MS ceasing support of XP is like the Bhopal disaster where thousands of people died?

        I'm calling the Hyperbole Police.

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: "...multi-trillion dollar liabilities at the hands of the Indian government"?

          Just supposing a major Indian bank went tits-up because of a complete XP-based IT failure, I wonder what the consequential death toll would be? This is India we are talking about. Lots of people surviving very close to the edge even when things are going well.

          Yes, I can imagine thousands of deaths. It would just be impossible to tell, except perhaps by statistics, how many or even whether they happened.

          Just like the excess deaths of elderly people in the UK in Winter over Summer, some of whom die because they can't afford the heating bills, or just because they think they can't. How many, we can't know.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like...

      >My honest opinion is that MS will probably come up with some supplementary licencing scheme, where you will be able to buy an extension licence including rights to continue to download updates

      They already have, however it is priced to discourage take up: from what I've seen reported the initial offer is $100 per supported install for the first year, $200 second year and $300 for the third year - and I wouldn't be surprised if MS intend to provide that support from their Indian operation...

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like...

      About the only thing MS can be said to fear is the self inflicted damage to their reputation that would be caused if there were to be an "Indian BANKOCALYPSE" directly attributable to the use of XP beyond April 2014, particularly as they cannot claim ignorance of the potential problems. Hence I suspect that MS's 'fear' is probably more that they may have to do a face-saving U-turn over XP support.

      Fundamentally, I suspect we and MS specifically are at the long forecasted junction where consumer and business IT needs diverge.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds like...

      "You see, security bugs are FAULTS. If your product has bugs it is faulty."

      Already covered under the license agreement. Sold as seen.

      "MS will probably come up with some supplementary licencing scheme, where you will be able to buy an extension licence including rights to continue to download updates for say £30 a year"

      Oh they do - extended XP support starts at £60,000 plus £20,000 per fix I believe. And then the costs double each subsequent year....

    5. Nigel 11

      Re: Sounds like...

      Microsoft has more to lose than Union Carbide did. Suppose Microsoft did kiss its entire Indian business goodbye. Would that be the end of it? India would go Linux. Then it would start pushing Linux as an export. And the rest of the world would think that if an entire subcontinent can go Linux, why can't we?

      It won't happen. Neither the April cut-off, nor Microsoft pulling out of India.

  16. teapot9999

    Legit copies?

    I wonder how many of those banks are running less than legal copies of XP!

  17. James Pickett

    " The move to a modern OS like Windows 8.1 will not only alleviate the risks for users and businesses but will also open up opportunities posed by modern technology, like the cloud"

    You mean you can't access 'the cloud' on XP? Someone had better tell my computer, as it seems to be under the impression that Dropbox, Google Docs, Livedrive etc. are all working...

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: cloud access

      They were probably referring to the fact that they will no longer support either a functional browser that runs on XP or any browser (on their cloud) that isn't 'approved' by them ie. isn't a current version of IE - remember Windows/Microsoft Update only seems to behave when it is accessed using a currently supported version of IE.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: cloud access

        It'll run the most up-to-date version of Chrome and Firefox. :D

        Does anyone actually still use IE?

  18. JDX Gold badge

    MS ARE offering extended support

    But for enterprises only, and it's pricey. For banks though, that seems a viable option.

    1. Crisp

      Re: MS ARE offering extended support

      Well to be fair, the banks can afford it.

      But if they can afford that, then they can afford to get their IT affairs in order.

  19. Haku

    Is that a Microsoft statement or a Mafia threat?

    Reading between the lines it's almost like something out of a gangster film:

    "It'd be a shame if something happened to those nice XP machines of yours, I can give you the protection software upgrade you need...for a monthly 'support' fee"

  20. Why Not?

    Oh yes, 'Windows Tiles for Focus Groups' as an ATM.

    I can see lots of vandalised ATMs.

  21. MatsSvensson

    Human sacrifice

    dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

  22. JackFrost

    Surface

    Don't worry millions of unsold Surface RT units are being shipped to save you ;)

  23. JackFrost

    call centre's offline

    the good news is that all the India call centres will also shutdown in 100 days :)

  24. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Support your Indian Neighbours

    I think it's time that we in the West should cold call random Indians and tell them that they have a problem with their Windows computer...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it all goes wrong, just sue Microsoft

    as they are the ones that are artificially forcing upgrades by stopping patches.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If it all goes wrong, just sue Microsoft

      "as they are the ones that are artificially forcing upgrades by stopping patches"

      Name any equivalent software products that get nearly 13 years of support? It's hardly unreasonable - they gave several years notice.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: If it all goes wrong, just sue Microsoft

        Name any equivalent software products that get nearly 13 years of support?

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux. 13 years to end of extended life cycle. (for 5 and 6, both at future dates).

        But the key difference is there's no vendor kill switch. If you really *have* to keep that RHEL5 system on RHEL5 until 2025 you can get hold of the open source, fix your own bugs after Red Hat won't, or pay some other organisation to do so on your behalf. It won't be cheap, but it will be possible.

        I could also mention [open]VMS, still supported after 32 years, the corporate death of two former owners, and the engineering death of its two former CPU architectures.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge

          Re: If it all goes wrong, just sue Microsoft @Nigel

          Take the cheapest RHEL equivalent and calculate the subscription costs for it for all those 13 years. That will be several times more expensive than XP Pro license ever was.

          The "fix it yourself" attitude is also an unreal proposition. How many people do you know that are adept at squashing bugs in Linux kernel? How fast could a 0-day vuln be fixed and tested until it's production ready in a bank environement? How much would a team of such experts cost?

          There's no kill switch in XP. I have clients that still use networked DOS and Win95 boxes.

          1. Vic

            Re: If it all goes wrong, just sue Microsoft @Nigel

            > Take the cheapest RHEL equivalent

            Righto.

            > calculate the subscription costs for it for all those 13 years.

            OK. That's 13 x £0 = £0.

            > That will be several times more expensive than XP Pro license ever was

            Not if you're using legitimate XP licences, it isn't.

            Vic.

            1. Sandtitz Silver badge

              Re: If it all goes wrong, just sue Microsoft @Nigel

              Vic, you fail.

              The cheapest RHEL equivalent for XP would be the Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Desktops. Even that requires a subscription for updates and in total costs a hell of a lot more than zero euros.

              1. Vic

                Re: If it all goes wrong, just sue Microsoft @Nigel

                > Vic, you fail.

                Well, one of us does.

                > The cheapest RHEL equivalent for XP would be the Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Desktops.

                Alternatively, you might find the cheapest RHEL *equivalent* would be CentOS, WhiteBox, Scientific, or various others.

                And they all cost nothing whatsoever. You get all the RHEL updates for zero outlay.

                Should you want personal support, that is also available at a cost. But forrather more support than you get with a standard XP installation, any of the above will do. And they're all both free and Free.

                Vic.

                1. Sandtitz Silver badge

                  Re: If it all goes wrong, just sue Microsoft @Nigel

                  >> Vic, you fail.

                  >Well, one of us does.

                  I agree. Vic, you fail.

                  Nigel gave an example or RHEL & 13 years of support to counter XP's ~13 years of support.

                  Yes, RHEL does support their latest products for 13 years - for a fat fee.

                  CentOS/Scientific support ends in 10 years. White Box EL seems to have been canned years ago.

                  1. Vic

                    Re: If it all goes wrong, just sue Microsoft @Nigel

                    > CentOS/Scientific support ends in 10 years

                    CentOS / Scientific support is around for as long as you want it. And you can pick how much you pay for your support - the more you need, the more you pay.

                    > White Box EL seems to have been canned years ago.

                    WhiteBox is still in existence, and I still have support customers using it.

                    Vic.

  26. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    Thumb Up

    Bit of a non-story...

    I thought MS was charging for support on XP - so that is not a problem, the lack of updates could be more of an issue, but given at the moment they use XP with a security model based on swiss cheese and they have no real problems at the moment, i cannot see a problem until the point that hardware is no longer compatible, but i would imagine that is years away.

    The largest problem is software - but i agree with Frank Rysanek, move over to Linux or pour funds to ReactOS.

  27. Lockwood

    Sympathy?

    How long has the support cycle been known for?

    There's only 100 days left? You've had at least 2 years warning!

    With Y2K, people saw the problem coming, they tested it, they worked around the problem so the effects were negligible.

    With the XP EOL, people refuse to see the problem coming, bury their heads in the sand and hope for the best.

    This is why the two should not be compared.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Sympathy?

      With Y2K, people saw the problem coming, they tested it, they worked around the problem so the effects were negligible.

      The effects were negligible because we fixed the problem in the existing code, in most cases we didn't force people to upgrade their entire infrastructure.

      1. JQW

        Re: Sympathy?

        Almost every customer of ours were more or less forced to move to another OS due to Y2K.

        The weird OS we resold was very late at getting a Y2K compliant version out of the door, and when they did they dropped support for various bits of hardware and add-on software. One critical component was the vendor's range of custom communications cards, which were used for a whole range of purposes, including high speed asynchronous links, IBM mainframe connectivity and plain old dial-up modem connections. No real reason was given from dropping support for these cards, and Y2K simply didn't make any sense.

        As the majority of sites used these cards for one purpose or another, they had to look for a workaround, and as workarounds were thin on the ground they dumped the system for something else - often Windows NT.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Sympathy?

      "How long has the support cycle been known for?"

      The support cycle has been known since XP was launched. At various points along the way Microsoft have *extended* the support life either by issuing service packs or by simply declaring that they will support it for longer than previously advertised. However, if you've got to 2014 and are surprised to see XP losing support, you've been asleep for at least 13 years. (Possibly longer, since Microsoft's support life-cycle policy pre-dates XP.)

      If you've only just woken up, can I just point out that Win7 goes out of support at the end of the decade?

  28. Red Bren
    Linux

    A modern OS like Windows...

    But not Windows. That would be some variant of Linux then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A modern OS like Windows...

      "That would be some variant of Linux then?"

      Nah - Linux isn't a modern OS - it still uses a legacy monolithic kernel model with no driver isolation. A desktop version of FreeVMS maybe?

      http://www.freevms.net/rubrique12.html

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Using something as modern as XP?

    I would have bet on there being some NT machines somewhere.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Using something as modern as XP?

      "I would have bet on there being some NT machines somewhere."

      Still some running here (FTSE 100 company). In the process of being shut down though...

      1. Roland6 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Using something as modern as XP?

        >In the process of being shut down though...

        Bet that's been the status since December 2003...

        I know of one large client organisation where the NT/W2K refresh only became a serious project in 2007 and from all reports is still on-going...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the NHS? surely more XP machines there than in the Indian banks.

  31. Syntax Error

    Upgrade?

    All Microsoft need to do is make it possible to upgrade from Win XP to Win 7/8. At the moment it is clean install time!

  32. RobHib
    Mushroom

    Well, Microsoft would say that, wouldn't it?

    ...after Microsoft revealed new research claiming over 34,000 publicly-funded bank branches are still reliant on Windows XP

    What else would you expect Microsoft to say? After all it's not impartial, and for every XP still in existence, it's a lost sale.

    In a post to the El Reg article REJOICE! Windows 7 users can get IE11 ... soon they'll have NO choice about MS forcing users to accept IE 11 through Automatic Updates, I gave just some of our reasons why we'll be using XP indefinitely past the 2014 deadline.

    Essentially, we're finished giving money to Microsoft for junk.

    Seems, like us, the Indian banks have woken up and called Microsoft's bluff.

    _____

    Footnote: Doesn't it strike anyone as peculiar that the software industry alone, especially Microsoft with Windows, can scare users into upgrading by saying its earlier product is so crappy, poxy and unusable 'that it'll do you great harm to use it, XP, one second past the end of support'!

    Imagine a car or any other manufacturer risking its business name, reputation and credibility by saying that its previous products had manufacturing faults and defects so unacceptable that it would harm you or you business to keep using them. Essentially, this is what's happened with Microsoft and XP!

    Listen IT users, you've been hoodwinked by the greatest con-job of all time--the principle of accepting that software is (and has to be) defective when you buy it--in fact so defective that you MUST have ongoing support to use it or it'll screw you completely if you don't!

    IT-ers, you're supposed to be technical people with the ability to see through con-jobs such as this! For heavens sake, keep a little of your self respect and start objecting seriously to this crappy Microsoft propaganda.

    This con-job has not only made Microsoft and its owners billions and billions of dollars, which won't be refunded to you because the product is faulty--but also it's made some of the richest people in the world at our expense. Right, we gullible users have actually let these Cretins and con merchants get away with one of the greatest lies of all time.

    "More fool us."

    ...Right again Shakespeare.

    1. Red Bren

      Re: Well, Microsoft would say that, wouldn't it?

      for every XP still in existence, it's a lost sale

      And as the RIAA have taught us, a lost sale is exactly the same as theft, so come April 2014, Microsoft will be releasing one final XP patch that gives users a choice of buying and installing Windows 8 or being prosecuted.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Well, Microsoft would say that, wouldn't it? @Red Bren

        And as the RIAA and friends have taught us, when those XP systems get upgraded to something other than Windows, those lost sales will still be regarded as theft and hence be used to bolster their claims about piracy and demands for it to be declared illegal to install an alternative OS.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, Microsoft would say that, wouldn't it?

      "Doesn't it strike anyone as peculiar that Microsoft can scare users into upgrading by saying its earlier product is so crappy, poxy and unusable 'that it'll do you great harm to use it,"

      There's a whole desperate and dying ecosystem out there of Certified Microsoft Dependent folks, from whole IT departments to resellers to trainers to (whatever). They've got a year or five yet, but they're long past their "Best Before" dates.

      This is their last great hope. And it's not working very well is it. From Mac to Android and sometimes even naked Linux, more people than ever are venturing outside the stereotypical IT department's Microsoft comfort zone. And some remarkably sensible ones have even kept their mainframes. Now who's laughing.

      Windows 8 just makes it even worse for MS.

      It's not looking good for them.

  33. Chozo

    I wonder...

    I wonder if Micro$oft will slip an old school 'logic bomb' into the final round of patches?

    1. Al fazed
      Thumb Up

      Re: I wonder...

      I have to assume they have already done that with older versions of MS Office, other wise Open Office would also declare the MS Word document to be corrupted.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Microsoft Register.

    Six Microsofts and two Windows not including the paid-for adverts.

  35. hamiltoneuk

    Barclays

    Barclays Bank in the UK still runs Win XP

    1. Bladeforce

      Re: Barclays

      Dont worry Barclays have all that sorted, going to Linux soon

      http://www.finextra.com/news/fullstory.aspx?newsitemid=24426

  36. Daniel von Asmuth
    Coat

    Follow the money

    How many Dutch ATM machines are still running on Windows XP?

  37. Al fazed
    Unhappy

    CLOWN

    8-) c l o w n

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuding Bollocks

    And Blackmail.

  39. Bladeforce

    Dont worry India or anyone else

    Usual Microsoft FUD. Thats what you get when blackmailed into an OS

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Win 8 isn't THAT bad

    First off, I'll say that I haven't used it in a business environment, but I have one machine in my house running Win8 with a program called Start8 to bypass metro and give a Win7 start button (that is customizable.) In my experience (without metro) I can confidently say that Windows 8 is a huge improvement over Windows 7. It's faster and has given me no troubles at all. From that standpoint, if your business is fine with Windows 7, I can't see why Windows 8 would be all that bad (given Start8).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Win 8 isn't THAT bad

      Not that bad. So buy it.

      I'm surprised the MS marketing people haven't come up with that one!

  41. Fred Bauer
    Coat

    Does the US healthcare.gov site run XP?

    Mine's the one with the DR-DOS disk in the pocket.

  42. gnufrontier

    Microsoft fears loss of revenue

    XP more likely to be "infected" ? Well, hasn't that always been the case since they purchased the XP licenses ? Microsoft admits its OS is insecure (and sold it that way). As for the others, I am skeptical they are any better. If the Indian banking system had any sense, they would migrate to Linux. How much more likely are they to be infected using Linux than by Vista or Windows 8 ? But hey, we are talking about a country of slums, open toilets, dirty water and crumbling infrastructure. I think XP is the least of their problems. Spare me the Microsoft "concerns" and why is the Register contributing to Microsoft's marketing FUD with this bogus story?

  43. Big-nosed Pengie

    Stupidity is, as always, its own punishment. Some people still haven't learnt to avoid MS like the very plague.

  44. W. Anderson

    The mentality of those running any real "bank" that would rely on Microsoft Windows XP in 2013 should classify them for disaster as an automatic consequence of such ridiculous short-sightedness. First, depending on a very insecure and unreliable software for it's core banking operations in the twenty first century is tantamount to suicide, and second, not planning for and starting process - some years ago - of moving to a better technology infrastructure is crazy.

    The bank owners and managers only had to look at developments, with results of such transition moves by banks in the UK, Italy, most of the European and high end Asian banking systems, as well in the USA.

    Another very poignant consideration is - what about all the Windows XP “low end” hardware in place that will never handle the upgrade to Window 8x that Microsoft is advocating? Microsoft is correct, these banks face a disaster by needing an additional 3 - 4 billion $$dollars US investment in hardware, networking ans security infrastructure "over" the core software upgrade, just to remain loyal Windows users.

    These Indian banks should heed the direction taken and promoted by former Indian President - Zail Singh who advocated for building a national business, educational and science/technology infrastructure on Linux. After all if "every” financial Stock Exchange on the planet, most of the Fortune 1000 financial services firms in USA and a good part of the European Union, Chinese and South American banking systems depend on Linux, why not India.

  45. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  46. W. Anderson

    Microsoft apolosits to the end

    A few commentes mistakenly think that Indian Banks Windows XP users "can" upgrade to newer Windows OS. WRONG!

    They would "require" considerably more updated hardware, with RAM - hundreds of $$millions, etc to use newer Windows, and for which most windows XP programs will not work - even with windows 7/8 Professional that supposedly cures that problem.

    You guys are delusional Microsoft supporters, as one commenter said - throwing your good money after bad.

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