More than 7.2 million personal computers in Thailand are at risk of facing service disruption as the countdown to end-of-support for the decade-old Windows XP begins, warns Microsoft.
Existing users can continue to use the operating system but Microsoft highly recommended against doing so for lack of up-to-date security updates and fixes.
Microsoft yesterday insisted it will officially retire servicing and support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014.
Rachod Isarankura Na Ayuthaya, head of Microsoft (Thailand) Windows client business, said it is essential for small- and medium-sized enterprises and consumers in Thailand to migrate from XP, an 11-year old operating system, to avoid vulnerabilities and risks that could cause business disruption and extra costs.
From April 8, 2014, Mr Rachod said Microsoft will no longer provide automatic fixes, updates or online technical assistance for Windows XP. This means users will no longer receive security updates that help protect PCs from viruses, spyware and other malware that can steal personal information.
"While XP was one of the most popular operating systems in Microsoft's history, it was not designed to handle the challenges of today, such as the increased exposure to cyber-attacks and demands for more data privacy, unlike our newer operating systems like Windows 7 and 8," he said.
StatCounter data shows that about 50% of PCs in Thailand are already on Windows 7, and in the last two months there's been an uptake of Windows 8 as well.
Microsoft is offering a Windows Upgrade Centre website, where SMEs can get more information about this issue, learn from analysts and other customers in the region.
Malware has become a severe threat in the last decade, with the number of challenges surging from 1,000 in 1991 to millions now.
Computer threats include viruses, worms, trojans, exploits, backdoors, password theft, spyware and other variations of potentially unwanted software.