Windows XP Still Refuses To Die

Windows XP Still Refuses To Die

Melbourne Airport is introducing 28 shiny new kiosks that can be used for automatic check-in by international airlines. And what operating system are they running? Windows XP, which was officially killed off last April.

I was mildly gobsmacked when, on walking through Melbourne Airport late last year, I saw the just-being-installed kiosks. While you wouldn’t be able to tell XP was running when the machine is fully-loaded, with full set-up not completed the XP underpinnings were all too visible. Oh dear.

Melbourne Airport’s site boasts:

Using the latest technology from SITA and BCS, the new kiosks have an improved look and feel to best meet a passenger’s needs.

Sorry, but a kiosk running Windows XP does not qualify as “the latest technology”. (The kiosks and 12 associated baggage drop-off points are currently being trialled for roll-out later this year.)

Old technology takes a long time to completely disappear. The fact that Windows XP was no longer officially supported and patched as of April last year sadly didn’t mean that people and businesses stopped using it. It was only last December that the number of Windows 8.1 users became larger than the total of people still using Windows XP. (Windows 7 is currently the most popular choice overall.)

In corporate environments, some companies have stuck with Windows XP, content to take the risk of the OS being insecure or trapped by other “crucial” software which won’t run on later versions. In some cases, they’re paying external contractors considerable sums to keep the platform secure. That seems short-sighted — but short-sighted policies often get locked in as IT mandates that stick around for years.

Evolve is a regular column at Lifehacker looking at trends and technologies IT workers need to know about to stay employed and improve their careers.


  • It may very well be an embedded licence, which doesn’t follow the windows XP consumer EOL.

  • Scoff all you want, but XP is still a good solution for POS/advertising. Once the image is setup there is no support required, if it breaks they’re only going to reimage it anyway. Sure, it’s out of date for an office machine, but these kind of applications only need to work by any means necessary.

    • I feel the same way, if you have non sensitive data and they are on their own network not a shared one or user domain then if the device gets hacked it will be a quick fix for any IT worker with some HDD imaging software. As no one will be browsing the internet on them or installing new software it is very unlikely an infection will occur, only absolute unattended hacks, such as blaster or the likes or a bad policy group setting will cause it to fail, so XP is good to use as it’s small, fast, works on old hardware etc. Why would any smart IT worker suggest that using any OS for kiosk or dedicated jobs need to be up to date? A bit of common sense please.

      ALTHOUGH IMO it would have been much better to run a linux OS with WINE installed than to use XP, but only if the IT manager is used to Linux, else it’ll just be worse and more unsecured than XP is.

      • I don’t see why people are always saying using XP is now a security risk… Just use an antivirus/antimalware/firewall program such as Avast!: Free. I’ve been using it since it first came out (every other OS pales in comparison) and I have had no trouble. I download games frequently and you could probably call me a regular TV show pirate (only because it’s not available where I live), Avast has blocked any malware or virus I’ve ever encountered so far, and I don’t expect much to change.

  • There’s nothing wrong with this practice, and if this alarms you, I’d stay inside for the rest of your life, as it’s rampant.

  • Yes they are on a network but the use they are designed for is not the same as most PC users i.e Internet, Emails, Torrenting, Downloads, Movies, Documents, Photos etc. So as massivetom said, if it breaks just reimage.

  • The number of vulnerabilities in XP is amazing… the latest one affecting anything joined to a domain. You’d hope they’re at least hardened with some 3rd party endpoint protection.

  • We’re still on XP at my office. Only switched to it about three years ago. In 2010, my Dad’s office was still using WinNT. Most of our clients are still using an ICT-dept-locked-down version of Internet Explorer 8.

    We switched to MS Office 2007 a little over a year ago.
    Yes. In late 2013 we switched to 2007.

    So much large enterprise is fucking ridiculous when it comes to keeping their tech updated.

    • In my experience, and not sure if it’s the case here, it can be because a core piece of software has not been updated to work on the latest OS.
      I know of a lawyer firm that remained on XP, simply because of an add on for their document management suite had not been updated to work on Win7, so the entire firm remained on XP.

      I suppose one has to balance whether it is wiser to remain on the existing OS, and make a bigger leap later or spend smaller amounts more often on the incremental OS upgrades.

  • All the End of Support means is Microsoft are saying, sorry we can’t support you anymore, but give us a couple of quid and we’ll do it. Thing is all you are paying for is Updates and some support, most of that support you don’t need as you’re careful using XP. Microsoft are looking for a way to make more money and this is how, ending support saves them money without having to pay all their staff to support XP, but any kind of support now will mainly be Updates and will be charged ones they are putting the charges up so if you pay them you get the Updates, but this is another way of getting you to Migrate because people desperate for Updates and worried they are at risk are more likely to be convinced to buy a new PC with a new operating system.

    I’ve setup Windows XP Pro on my Gran’s computer and if there’s a problem she comes to me for support.

  • If its recycling old Windows XP licenses and saving them a few $$$$ on non critical systems then I don’t see an issue. Some system admins use a dis-used XP license as a printer server, they just strip down services and features not needed.

  • I think one of the points that being missed here is the question as to what counts as critical.
    Break/fixing a kiosk sounds great, but it ignores an underlying security risk here.
    Well may you say “it’s just a kiosk and isn’t being used to browse porn sites or religious sites” or whatever, but that’s just like waving a flag at a bull. No doubt someone will get the idea of playing Doom on it.
    Or more importantly, using the kiosk for evil, like, I dunno, bypassing security checks when checking in. To an aeroplane.
    IF they can find a way not to get charged for excess luggage, more power to them.

  • bypassing security checks when checking in. To an aeroplane
    Evidently you have your own personal jet when you fly, because you seem to have missed the part where everyone stands in line for 15 minutes to be patted down by a large uniformed man with a small wand, whilst being asked to remove belt and shoes.
    I’m not sure how hacking a kiosk is going to get you past the security checkpoint.

    On that tangent, it was not that long ago that some ATMs were running on NT and OS/2 Warp. Just because consumer grade OS are susceptible to flaws, doesn’t mean that core OS is. These are usually stripped right down as the terminal doesn’t require the additional features that consumers demand.

  • No matter what I do, I will continue to use Windows XP.
    I know, Windows XP is outdated and old, but…
    Fuck Windows Vista!
    Fuck Windows 7!

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