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Windows XP served Microsoft well for over 7 years. Now the first phase of its retirement is being set into action, with the end of mainstream support. Security fixes for the OS will continue until 2014.  (Source: Microsoft)
A venerable OS is laid to rest -- sorta

Windows XP in its early years started off ambitious and enterprising.  However, in those early years (2001 and 2002), it also gave many a headache and received ample criticism.  With time (and Service Packs) it matured into what is today regarded as one of Microsoft's best operating system efforts of all time.

Now the time has come at last to take the first steps towards laying the OS to rest.  While sales of XP-downgraded computers will continue after July in the case of HP, and XP will still be installed on some netbooks until 2010, Microsoft is ending mainstream support for the OS on April 14, 2009.  The first phase of the retirement comes over seven years after the first Windows XP shipped.

The fact that it will still be selling XP machines after this discontinuation is a testament to the OS's strong public image, but it also puts Microsoft in a strange position.  Aside from new sales, an estimated 63 percent of internet-connect computers have Windows XP installed (as of March 2009), versus a mere 24 percent with Windows Vista.  In short, Microsoft is in the curious position of ending support for its most widely used product.

Laurence Painell, Windows marketing manager at Microsoft UK reassures customers that while the majority of product-related (i.e. mainstream) support will be ended, key security updates will not.  He states, "We will provide critical security fixes via Windows Update for all editions of XP until 2014."

However, Microsoft will no longer have the burden of answering any non-security issues, except for those users with an
extended support contract with Microsoft or one of its channel partners.  Microsoft says that the familiarity in the tech community with XP, should limit this becoming a problem.  It argues that customers have plenty of support resources to turn to online.

Gartner analyst
Michael Silver praises the move.  He states, "The only thing extended support buys you is creation of new non-security fixes, at a hefty fee for each one. After all these years, most people figure that most of the functional bugs [in XP] are already worked out."

Microsoft is encouraging XP customers to switch to its upcoming OS, Windows 7, particularly those who skipped Vista.  One curious aspect of Windows 7 is that it comes with an offer for an XP downgrade, again throwing a bit of a wrench in Microsoft's retirement plans.  The downgrade is a quick process, but ironically an upgrade from XP to Windows 7 requires a full install. 

Describes a Windows Team blog post, "There are simply too many changes in how PCs have been configured (applets, hardware support, driver model etc) that having all of that support carry forth to Windows 7 would not be nearly as high quality as a clean install." 

Microsoft encourages XP customers to download the Windows 7 beta to ease the transition.

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By SavagePotato on 4/8/2009 10:39:34 AM , Rating: 4
That limit doesn't apply simply to your main system ram, your video cards ram is a factor as well. So for myself with 2 gigs of video ram and 4 gigs of system ram, It becomes a problem.

There are security improvements to Vista64 as well.

When you look at the fact that 4 gigs of ram costs as little as 50 dollars or less depending on the type of ram, and the fact that most new systems ship with a minimum of 4 gigs, yes, it is very much something a day to day user will benefit from.

When I used to repair computers for a living, most if not all of the mainstream users machines that were brought in were a combination of horrendously under equipped, old, slow, virused crap. Now obviously you speed up alot by cleaning them up, but even still you have so much more overhead for Windows use with a nice fast system with alot of ram. And you don't have to pay much more for it either, the days of the 3000 dollar 486 are long gone.

Why would anyone NOT want a better Windows experience is what I don't get. Being able to open tons of windows, multiple programs and multitask with ease, this is something a fast system with tons of ram allows. And like I said contrary to belief it does not cost alot at all.

Plus, you are going to get more life out of that system. When you buy a piece of crap that can just barely start up and browse a few web pages, it's lifespan is going to seem so, so much shorter. I mean, I game and I am still getting great use out of a two year old system because it was high end when I bought it.

If you are a casual home user, you are going to get an amazing lifespan out of getting a fast machine with say 4+ gigs of ram and a quad core processor. And to be honest you are not going to pay alot for it. This is the benefit to the casual user in NOT lowballing it, and in 64 bit.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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