Research finds widespread use of unsupported software in England’s second-biggest force
Windows XP was first released back in 2001, and has not been supported since April 2014
Upwards of one in five PCs used by Greater Manchester Police are still running on Windows XP, more than three years after Microsoft stopped all support for the operating system.
A Freedom of Information request from the BBC finds that the force – which is the second biggest in England, after London’s Metropolitan Police – still has 1,518 computers using the 16-year-old software. This represents 20.3% of its total of about 7,500 office-based PCs.
Window’s XP’s extended support period ended on 8 April 2014. This means that Microsoft will no longer issue security updates or provide any technical support for the product.
Prior to – and since – the end of support, the software firm has warned users that continuing to run Windows XP represents a security risk, and that upgrading to a newer operating system is strongly advised.
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“PCs running Windows XP after 8 April 2014 are not considered secure,” says Microsoft’s website.
It adds: “Without critical Windows XP security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information. Antivirus software will also not be able to fully protect you once Windows XP itself is left unsupported.”
PublicTechnology had contacted Greater Manchester Police requesting comment and was awaiting response at time of going to press.
In June, it was revealed that more than half of the Metropolitan Police’s 35,211-strong PC estate is still running on Windows XP – with just eight using Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system.
London Assembly member Steve O’Connell claimed that the widespread use of unsupported software was “like a fish swimming in a pool of sharks”.