With the Windows XP retirement looming, the user base is scurrying around to look for options beyond the retirement date. The biggest concern for companies and individuals is data security.

Microsoft will stop releasing updates and security patches for the old operating system after April 8, 2014, and has recommended Windows XP users to upgrade to a new version as soon as possible. A substantial amount is doing so, but there are a few that believe cutting off the Internet is also a solution.

I mean, no connectivity means no attacks, right?

Redmond thinks otherwise. In a document delivered to partners, Microsoft says that even without Internet access, a Windows XP machine could still be vulnerable to other types of attacks:

“Being disconnected to an internal network, or using a USB or CD to transfer information, may reduce the attack surface but will still leave you vulnerable to several types of attacks once support ends. Aside from a few special situations, keeping your Windows XP machine in a sealed room on its own is not the right choice for your business.”

Additionally, there has been a lot of talk about installing antivirus solutions that will support Windows XP beyond retirement, but Microsoft says that hackers and cybercriminals would attempt to exploit any and all vulnerabilities in the platform left unpatched by the company:

“We won’t sugarcoat it: If you are running Windows XP after April 8, 2014, you are putting your business at risk — and please don’t believe anyone who claims that quick fixes can replace a critical OS update.”

In other words, upgrading to a newer version of Windows (preferably Windows 8.1) is best solution for businesses if they want to stay on the safe side. Half cooked measures will just not cut it.

With less than three months remaining on the clock, the Windows XP user base have to make a decision, and make a decision fast. It does not take long for security threats to spread.

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