Microsoft ends so-called “mainstream” support for Windows XP on Tuesday, April 14, 2009.
After that date, the company will provide “extended” support for another five years until April 8, 2014. However, extended support only includes free security fixes along with paid per-incident support as well as support contracts.
“During the Extended support phase Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will provide paid support (example: per-incident telephone/web support, Premier and Essential support, etc.) for all customers … [Additionally,] non-security hotfixes will be available to Premier customers for a fee via the Extended Hotfix Support program,” a Microsoft spokesperson told InternetNews.com in an e-mailed statement.
Windows XP initially launched in late 2001. Since that time, Microsoft has delivered three service packs (SP) for the aging, though much-embraced operating system. The most recent, Service Pack 3, shipped this time last year.
With the disappointment that many users – particularly IT shops – experienced regarding Windows Vista, which shipped on January 30, 2007, users continued to buy new PCs with XP for as long as possible while they wait for Windows 7.
Tuesday, then, is a pivotal day.
While it means the cutoff of mainstream support, however, customers will still be able to get XP as a downgrade from Vista when buying a new PC. In addition, last week Microsoft confirmed that users will be able to downgrade from Windows 7, if they want.
However, the Microsoft spokesperson also pointed out that users who purchased their PCs with XP pre-installed will need to get technical support from their PC’s maker.