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IRS Admits to Still Using Windows XP

Clearly the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) isn't as good at keeping deadlines as it is at setting them. Just days before millions of Americans will be submitting taxes on April 15, the IRS admitted that more than half of its computers still run Microsoft's just-retired Windows XP operating system.

Tech specialists have known since 2008 that Microsoft planned to stop providing security fixes and updates to XP in 2014 (the final XP update came last week on Apr. 8). Now the IRS must take $30 million out of its enforcement budget to complete its transition from XP to the still-supported Windows 7.

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Part of that $30 million will go toward paying Microsoft for "Custom Support" to continue receiving exclusive XP security updates until the transition is complete. This means that the IRS's XP computers won't be as vulnerable as the other estimated 20 to 30 percent of computers worldwide still running the 13-year-old operating system.

IRS commissioner John Koskinen defended the organization before the House of Representatives' Financial Services and General Government subcommittee last Monday (Apr. 7), blaming budget constraints for the delay in upgrading from XP.

However, Microsoft's Custom Support for Windows XP is pretty expensive in itself: Microsoft increased the price last February, clearly intending to benefit from the many companies who, either through oversight or neglect, missed the April 8 cutoff for XP support.

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