Firefox, Opera to support XP despite Microsoft cut off

Firefox

Opera Software and Mozilla say they have no plans to yank browser support for XP users

Mozilla and Opera have said they will continue supporting their browsers on Windows XP, even after Microsoft pulls the plug.

Microsoft will stop issuing updates and patches for Windows XP SP3 in April next year, and has urged users to switch to newer operating systems.

But Opera Software confirmed that it has no intention to stop support for XP versions after the deadline. "Opera is used by millions of Windows XP users, and we will keep supporting Windows XP as long as it is popular among our users," a spokesperson told PC Pro.

We will keep supporting Windows XP as long as it is popular among our users

Likewise Mozilla told Neowin that it will continue to support Firefox users still running Windows XP, despite the clear security risks. "We have no plans to discontinue support for our XP users," said Firefox's vice-president of engineering, Jonathan Nightingale.

Neither company went into further detail, such as how long they would continue to support XP. Mozilla hasn't responded to a request for clarification.

The news means that Internet Explorer will be the only popular Windows browser not supported on XP, as Google has also said it would continue to support Chrome and issue security updates for at least a year after Microsoft's deadline. As with Opera, Google admitted that a "good chunk" of Chrome users still run XP on their machines.

Security risks

Security analyst Graham Cluley slammed the move, describing it as a "serious problem" if left ignored. "At the very least, browsers [should take it] upon themselves to spot that they are running on Windows XP and display a big fat 'Woah! You're running an out-of-date way-old operating system. It's not really safe for you to be on the net like this. Learn more here.." message when they start up, that users have to acknowledge each time they run," he told PC Pro.

The announcement is yet another headache for Microsoft as it attempts to shift users off XP. According to NetMarketShare, almost a third of the world's PCs still run the ageing OS.

Microsoft has warned that there will be a greater chance of attack on XP users after its support deadline, as hackers will reverse-engineer patches issued for Windows 7 and Windows 8 to find exploits in the older OS.

In a security report this week, the company also warned that XP is generally more susceptible to malware infection than newer operating systems.

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