Microsoft has thrown a security lifeline to Windows XP users despite a year-long migration campaign insisting support for the OS was coming to an end almost a month ago.
Earlier this week, Internet Explorer was hit by the first post-XP security breach which allowed hackers to hijack affected users' PCs. Today the vendor announced a patch was ready to fix the problem.
But in an unexpected move, Microsoft is offering the security update to XP users too.
Throughout its migration campaign, Microsoft was adamant that users of the 13-year-old operating system would have to go cold turkey after the 8 April cut-off date, but it appears to have had a change of heart.
"We have made the decision to issue a security update for Windows XP users," said Dustin Childs, group manager of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group.
"Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, and we continue to encourage customers to migrate to a modern operating system, such as Windows 7 or 8.1.
"Additionally, customers are encouraged to upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer; IE 11."
Security expert Graham Cluley said on his blog that he was surprised by Microsoft's move.
"It's something of a turnaround by Microsoft as Windows XP's last official security update was supposed to be on the 'patch Tuesday' bundle issued on 8 April. So consider this a lifeline..."
View pictures of all of last night's fights
Acquisitive comms provider swoops on Frontier Voice & Data and StoneHouse Logic
Cybersecurity firm rakes in £3.6m for unwanted unit
Results, reaction and pictures from last night's CRN Fight Night