Windows XP users left high and dry as Oracle ends Java support

Next version quietly drops XP from list

Windows XP hold-outs pay attention. If you run the Java runtime on XP, it looks as if the current version is about as good as it gets. The next version, 7u65 and 8u11, due to ship in the middle of July, will not support or run on XP.

Oracle hasn't announced this so much as sneaked out the information on its Java support site.

"As of April 8, 2014 Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP and therefore it is no longer an officially supported platform," says the text.

Sure enough, checking the operating system list for JDK 7 and JRE 7 certified system configurations, Windows XP is now missing from a list that contains Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

According to Danish security firm Heimdal, which first noticed the issue after being tipped off by partners, XP users will be able to download and install the new version of Java but it won't load correctly. Oddly, when the firm tried to confirm this with Oracle it got no reply.

Techworld asked Oracle for a comment and was met with a similarly chilly silence. It seems that the firm has made its position as clear as it wants to and that's the end of the matter.

"Windows XP still accounts for approximately 20 percent of the PC's in use, according to global market data. Of those XP users some 82 percent also use Oracle Java according to our intelligence. . This means that millions of PC users, who still run Microsoft XP, are being left in the dark with a piece of software that is known to be very vulnerable," said Heimdal's CEO, Morten Kjaersgaard.

Java had experienced 131 CVE reports in 2013, more than in XP itself, meaning that running Java on the latest version (Java 7 update 60, 7 June) represented a huge risk going forward, he said.

"This is a huge security problem."

Given that vulnerabilities for this version will accumulate over time, XP users determined to continue using Java should disable and then de-install all versions on their computers as soon as possible.

Techworld already recommends that consumers don't use it on any version of Windows because its atrocious track record for vulnerabilities and exploits. Java has for some time been bad news for any Windows user who doesn't genuinely need it in the first place.

"Our attempts to get this verified by either Oracle in Germany or Denmark, has simply led to a "no comment", lack of answers to our emails with direct questions, or a reply that Java hasn't been supported for XP since 8th of April," Kjaersgaard told Techworld.

So now you know. No new Java.