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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 2:17:35 PM , Rating: 2
he equipment is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars so we can't just replace it because a $500 computer decides to die, but it is also next to impossible to find a new machine with a copy of XP SP2

Does your company have what is called an "IT Department"? While I do feel for you, there are some solutions that anyone who knows about computers should be able to fix.

Your IT is crap... As long as your hardware works with XP, it'll be good to use to at least 2014 - but XP shouldn't stop functioning just because its EOL.

Here is what you do, your company buys up about 5~10 or so copies of XP-PRO SP2 retail for $250 each:
(OEM version is cheaper at $110 - but its Media Center, which only lacks VPN)

Then when you need to replace a computer, you can BUILD it yourself and install the OS.

Whoever developed your hardware that hasn't/can't make it work in XP - are they still in business? Seriously, hardware companies update their drives for $30~3000 printers. For SUPPORT, that builder needs to make it work with XP/Win7... especially for XP. And besides, that software that is running on Win2000 should work on XP.

While some have commented on security issues, I am assuming that your lab computers are in a closed system.

Seriously, your IT (which doesn't sound that good), your lab techs and other employees need to get together. And then go to management and discuss modernization. Money speaks... and if you explain to them "It takes us X amount of time because this crap is old and incompatible vs. spending $$ to resolve the problem and speed up lab work" will be more understandable than your idiotic IT that is justing crying about it being a pain in the ass.

Your IT needs to develop plans. One of my clients has 20 PC systems, all on XP with Office 2002~2003. Vista isn't going to be installed on any computer. Every once in a while, someone will say "Lets put on vista or Office2007 - we need to be updated"... and I explain for compatiblity with everyone on the network and their files - it'll mean having to upgrade everyone. (Thats how MS works) One worker doing work in Office2007 becomes incompatible with others... So we skip this version of OS/Office - save $$$, buy hardware for Win7. We'll buy new hardware that isn't going to handle Win7/office2010 in 2010.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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