In this issue:
Microsoft To Extend Windows XP Availability
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
Maybe you've heard/read some reports that Microsoft is 'extending' the Windows XP 'lifetime'. These reports typically just report that Microsoft decided to extend Windows XP's availability by two years (from June 30 2008 to June 30 2010), but this isn't the whole (or the correct) story.
Windows XP will stop to be available for OEM's (computer builders) on June 30 this year, except for a class of devices that Microsoft is calling ULCPCs (Ultra Low-Cost PCs). This is a class of devices that includes UMPCs, MIDs, Origami devices, Subnotebooks and even some desktops that qualify for Microsoft's ULPC moniker.
An example of an ULPC is Asus' Eee PC or the Intel Classmate PC. Microsoft announced on the 3rd April that it is allowing OEMs to ship their ULPCs with Windows XP until June 30, 2010, or one year after general availability of the next version of Windows, whichever comes first.
Although Microsoft continues to encourage OEMs to use Windows Vista on their ULPC's, the fact is that most of these machines aren't capable of running Vista for the simple fact that most use solid-state (disk) drives with sizes varying between one and eight GB. Windows Vista needs a minimum of 15GB to install. Coupled with graphics and memory requirements for Vista, if Microsoft would have stood by its end of availability to OEMs for Windows XP, it would have meant giving Linux a free 'pass' on ULPC's. This seems to have been the main argument that Microsoft persuaded to amend its Windows XP policy.
Additionally, Microsoft will be further extending the availability of Windows XP Starter Edition through June 30, 2010, in 139 emerging markets where the product is currently available.
Last but not least, Microsoft also (slightly) extended the End User Downgrade Rights (from Windows Vista Business/Ultimate Editions). This is OEMs' ability to provide an OEM Activation enabled Windows XP recovery disk (either in the system packaging or to an end user upon request), which is being extended through January 31, 2009. The previous end date was July 31, 2008.
For 'normal' PCs, Microsoft is holding fast to its June 30, 2008 preload cut-off for Windows XP. As Microsoft noted previously, users still will be able to get XP preloaded on new machines from white-box vendors/system builders through January 31, 2009.
Microsoft will provide mainstream (free) support for Windows XP until April 14, 2009. Extended support (free for security fixes and paid for other help) ends in 2014 (April 8th).
Microsoft has said that its target delivery date for Windows 7, the next version of Windows, is some time in 2010.
Windows XP Service Pack 3
There have been several reports recently that Microsoft would release Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Windows XP. Some of these have mentioned dates in March of this year, but as we know, March have come & gone without an SP3 release.
The only SP3 release Microsoft did back in March was a refresh of the current build of the Service Pack (called Release Candidate 2), which Microsoft updated near the end of March.
Microsoft expects to officially release SP3 in Q2 of this year; the general consensus is that it will be released this month.
Right now anyone can download the Release Candidate of SP3 from the Microsoft Download site.
In contrast to earlier Service Packs, SP3 does require at least Windows XP SP1, while SP2 is recommended. Because SP2 includes all SP1 fixes, it is safe to say you should use that as a basis to upgrade to SP3. For more information read this Microsoft TechNet article.