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Is Windows XP really no longer available?

Posted By : Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on June 20, 2008 11:34 AM

Question

I went into a computer store and they told me I can’t get a computer with Windows XP anymore. Is this true?

- Janice

Answer

This question was answered on June 20, 2008. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

What they should have told you was that you can’t get Windows XP from THEM anymore, but you can still buy a computer with Windows XP installed.

In my 20 years of working with and around Microsoft operating systems, no transition has created as much public contention as what we are seeing with Windows Vista.

The closest thing that I can equate to it is the release of Windows ME, which was arguably the worst version of Windows ever committed to disk, but the difference was that users weren’t forced to migrate to it.

Most users went from Windows 98 Second Edition to Windows 2000 or XP and skipped right over the “Millennium Edition” because of the problems that were associated with it.

The reality of Windows Vista is that it is a more stable and more secure operating system than Windows XP, but it looks and works differently and many are having a visceral response to the interface when they attempt to use it.

Part of the problem is that change is always hard, especially when someone else is dictating to you when you must change. This current situation clearly shows that Microsoft failed to “build a better mouse trap” with Vista.

The dissenting vocalization from the four corners of the Internet caused Microsoft to delay the demise of Windows XP somewhat, but alas, the end is nigh.

June 30th marks the end of the line for major retailers and major manufacturers to acquire product for sale in their stores or through their websites.

This does not mean that you won’t be able to find any Windows XP machines on July 1st, as they are allowed to sell Windows XP systems until they run out of stock (if they have any). Each retailer and manufacturer will determine when they plan to close out Windows XP for the public.

Dell, for instance, stopped taking orders for Windows XP systems on June 18th, but even then it does not mean that you can’t get a computer with Windows XP installed on it.

Here are the currently published timelines and associated events for Windows XP (all subject to change!):

June 30, 2008 - PC manufacturers and retailers stop selling computers with XP installed. The only source of new computers pre-loaded with Windows XP is through generic “white-box” computer resellers.

Jan. 31, 2009 - Microsoft stops selling Windows XP altogether through any channel (with the exception of some non-US versions and specialized low-end laptops).

April 14, 2009 - Mainstream support ends (free live support and warranty support). Free maintenance (Windows XP updates) will continue but will be limited to security fixes only.

April 8, 2014 - All support for Windows XP ends – no more security fixes, no more support of any kind from Microsoft…you are on your own!

Our company’s suppliers (which are “white-box” systems) have confirmed these dates as well.

To add to the confusion, manufacturers and white-box dealers can offer “downgrade” rights to those that pay for Windows Vista Business or Ultimate until January 31st, 2009.

This means that you pay for Windows Vista Business or Ultimate, but the computer gets loaded with Windows XP Professional (XP Home is not available for downgrades).

This program was designed primarily for businesses that have not approved Vista for use on their corporate networks, but anyone can take this route (and it may be the safest, because you will already have what you need to migrate to Vista in the future.)

If you choose this option, make sure that the manufacturer or reseller includes the Windows XP disks (they will usually charge a little more for it, but you want the disks!) or you could be stuck down the road if you need to reinstall Windows XP.

Here’s the bottom line: You will be able to purchase some form of a computer with Windows XP pre-loaded on it until January 31st of 2009, however, starting on July 1st, 2008 it will become increasingly more difficult and more expensive because your options will narrow.

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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on June 20, 2008

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