One of the most successful operating systems of all time is retiring at the end of the month. Microsoft will stop selling and licensing Windows XP to PC manufacturers.
Those of us who are a little old fashioned want to stick with the operating system we've known and loved for years, after all we've been through a lot together. Since the release of XP, the average computer user will have spend over 8000 hours on their PC, and XP was the system most of us first used to connect to the internet. Now there's a story to tell your kids.
So if you are not prepared to update to Vista, what options do you have after the cut-off date?
Getting Support for Windows XP Problems
In terms of getting support for the numerous technical issues that XP users come across everyday, some form of support from Microsoft will exist until at least 2014, so that gives you another six years, although the support may be more difficult to get hold of.
You may want to purchase a premium tech support service to get around this problem or purchase software to keep your registry in tact. Or you can search on tech forums as there is a good chance if you have a problem that other users will also have the same problem, far easier than asking Microsoft for support.
XP On Brand New Machines
It will still be possible to purchase a PC with XP installed after the deadline despite Microsoft categorically stating that this will not be possible after the cut-off date.
Retailer and PC manufacturers that have acquired unused XP licenses before the cut-off date will still be allowed to sell the operating system on new PCs.
Switching Operating Systems
Downgrade rights are the second way for you to get your hands on a new computer with XP. If a manufacturer has downgrade rights from Microsoft, they'll be able to sell you a PC that started on Vista, but which they downgraded to XP before they sold it to you.
If this is the case, you'll be supplied with the discs for XP and it's drivers, as well as the same discs for Vista, so you can re-upgrade at a later date if you decide to. Dell have confirmed that they will make this option open to customers, but it only lasts out until January 31st next year.
'Limited Hardware Capabilities'
There is an alternative legal way of getting your hands on XP. That is purchase a PC that has 'limited hardware capabilities,' a term that Microsoft has phrased for machines that lack the muscle power such as slow processor or limited memory, to run Vista. Laptops such as the Asus EEE lack both processor power and hard-disk space to run Windows Vista. Instead these machines must run XP.
XP Still Has Life Yet
Windows XP still has many more years ahead of it, even if Microsoft wants everyone to upgrade to Vista or its successor. XP support is likely to extend well into the next decade allowing us enough time to get used to the idea.