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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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RE: They do not want to admit
By Belard on 4/9/2009 1:52:19 PM , Rating: 2
omeone come out and say XP would be fine for another 10 or 15 years, I see someone who has no grasp of things.

Even thou I have posted my opinions (and facts) about Vista as a negative. Which means I get voted down by visa lovers/MS employees - they are not understanding the issue.

Its not that I (and others) are not against progress. But that what is replacing the OLD has to be an obvious improvement. Originally, Vista didn't have the stability, performance and functionality over XP. Sure the eye-candy is "new", but thats about it. Also, vista's use of the GPU means more power was needed from the chip (more heat) - hopefully Win7 improves on this as well. My remaining issue with vista is still the heavy DRM and privacy. Imagine how much faster an OS it could be without that junk.

Many of issues with vista are resolved, not all - and I dont see MS putting much effort when Win7 is their goal.

If someone wants to use XP for the next 10~15 years, sure - let them, but thats horrible. We have Amiga users still plowing away on their 15+ year old computers (I have two of them) and to their credit, its a very good system - but still a dead platform. The advancement of Linux (and windows - even thou its bloated) surpasses the abilities of 20+year old tech. Truth, until Win2000 - MS had not caught up with AmigaOS 2.0 from 1989. SAD. Oh, yeah - I've seen this stagnet problems with Amigas myself; thats why I knew they were going to die back in 1992/3... where you can go to a store and buy an Amiga computer with 3~4 different OS versions. 1.3 was 100% game compatible, 2.0 older office models (3000), 2.1 some models, 3.0 latest. WTF?! 1.3 came out in 1986! Back in 89 when 2.0 came out, they should have "forced" developers into the concept "The OS changes - patch up your games or learn what areas to not dig-into" We didn't have the internet back then, so updates just didn't happen... but by selling computers with OLD OS - they hurt themselves. Productivity software and tools worked fine in 2~3.0 and half the games worked okay. So it was a matter of GAMES. All they had to do is what we the users HAD to do... softboot into 1.3. Amigas were excellent multitasking systems, but for game performance - that was all that ran (no desktop GUI). A reboot was required to start a game with a bootable floppy.

So my $2500 25mhz with Hard Drive computer with 3.0-OS had to use a "pirated" like tool, to boot into 1.3-OS and "pretend" to be a 7mhz HD-less $300 computer. Imagine what games would have been like to actually run in 25mhz! This is how Amigas were like game-consoles, all games expected specific hardware/software.

Crap like that drove me nuts. And I upgraded to every new OS because they were better than the last. So yes, even my 1985 Amiga computer was running the 1992 3.0 OS.

With the PC, the hardware was open, the graphics went from mono to color to higher res to 3D with no minimal standard. It was a horrible design that took 20 years to be a good system.

Windows7 should be the OS that advances the PC and put XP to rest. And if someone wants to use XP well into 2020... so be it. ;)

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