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For a long time I've been dismissing and ignoring this popup, which is easy since it only appears at boot (or logon) which is once every few months:

Support for this operating system has ended, which means Microsoft Security Essentials is no longer supported, and your PC is at risk.

But recently I became suspicious after a crash (which killed my multi-month uptime) and opened the main dialog, to find the whole thing had been disabled:

Support for this operating system has ended and Microsoft Security Essentials is no longer protecting your PC

Most of the user interface (including tabs) is disabled - the only things that work are the Help menu and the blue hyperlink.

I want to know if I am the only person (or one of a small few) who has seen this dialog!

It is certainly a planned action by Microsoft (to persuade us to upgrade Windows), but I wonder if some malware triggered it early as a sneaky way of disabling MSE. Two things that make me suspicious are that I can't reproduce it in a virtual machine, and even though I first noticed it almost two weeks ago, Google doesn't know the phrase "Microsoft Security Essentials is no longer protecting your PC". (of course that will change when it indexes this question)

There are supposed to be three "end of life stages" for MSE and my main PC is at stage 3, in which MSE stops working altogether, but even though Stage 3 was supposed to begin on July 14, I can only reproduce stage 2 in a virtual machine. (its message is the same as in the popup shown above and nothing is actually disabled)

So has anybody else experienced Stage 3?

Please don't say "stop using Windows XP". While it might be a good idea, it doesn't answer the question.

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    Stop using Windows XP. It DOES answer your question: the vendor no longer support this platform so the most logical step is to disable the AV alltogether: this way, you don't have a false sense of security. So, seriously, stop using windows XP – Stephane Jul 30 '15 at 7:29
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I don't think what you are experiencing is the result of malware; it looks like the legitimate effect of the end of support for Windows XP (which came out 15 years ago, so by all means it is an obsolete product).

If you really want to continue using Windows XP you should install a third-party antivirus to replace MSE. Just be aware that you won't be fully protected as Microsoft has stopped issuing OS patches for Windows XP; the appropriate solution would be to upgrade your OS.

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