Department of Engineering

IT Services

End of XP and Office 2003 support on 8 April 2014

Important information for anyone using or running a computer using Windows XP or Office 2003 attached to the Engineering Department Network.

On April 8th 2014, Windows XP and Office 2003 come to the end of their long life, which means that Microsoft will issue no further security patches for these products. The UCS has encouraged the orderly phasing out of both Windows XP and Office 2003 from use on university computer systems and this message is to make you aware of the need to plan for this both financially and logistically.

Machines with outdated software offer an easy target to hackers. Since Microsoft holds the lion's share of the desktop market, attacks on Microsoft systems are inevitable. Whilst Windows XP does provide a firewall, this cannot protect from all forms of attack, for example drive by attacks aimed at old web browsers (Windows XP can only run Internet Explorer 8, not 9/10), or attacks using some macros within Office 2003. Virtual XP machines are equally vulnerable.

We cannot support Windows XP machines on the Engineering Department network once it is no longer maintained by Microsoft. There are three options for users of computers using Windows XP:

  1. Upgrade the computer to the new Windows 7 operating system if it will run it (most relatively new machines will be upgradable),
  2. Replace the machine with new hardware,
  3. If it cannot be upgraded, email helpdesk to arrange to have it moved to a part of the network which cannot access the internet.

If you need any assistance with determining which option is best, or in making the appropriate changes, please contact the helpdesk. or your divisional IT staff if your IT support is normally provided by your Division. Technical advice (for example in dealing with embedded XP or other applications where there is no easy upgrade path) can always be sought from IT Services who can be contacted via helpdesk. For more information about the ending of Windows XP support The Microsoft Springboard provides details on this subject.