After 7 years, as of June 30, 2008, Windows XP will no longer be made available to large computer makers, such as Dell, Lenovo, or Hewlett-Packard, or to major software retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City. The blends of Windows XP are currently XP Professional, XP Home, XP Media Center Edition, and XP Tablet PC edition.
What does this mean for the consumer? Mainly, you won’t be seeing any boxed copies of Windows XP on the store shelves as copies start to sell out. Otherwise, Windows XP will still be available in the following ways:
- Small, independent computer makers, such as local businesses, will have access to XP until July 2009. (Some reports state until January 2009).
- Manufacturers of ultra-low cost laptops and PCs, such as Asus, will have access to XP for 2 more years; that’s until 2010.
- Brand name computer manufacturers and retailers will be able to continue selling XP for as long as they have stock, but they will be unable to order new copies.
- Some PC makers, like Dell, are making it possible to downgrade a new Vista computer to XP for an indefeinite period. Some times the service is free, and some times they charge $50 for the service. This is possible due to a loophole in the Vista license that allows downgrades from Vista to XP at no additional cost. (That’s at no cost from Microsoft, not the manufacturers, hence the possible fee.)
- Major PC makers are also allowed to sell XP on low-power systems that lack the computing power required to run Vista.
Additionally, if you’re having trouble with your current copy of Windows XP, Microsoft will continue to support Windows XP until August 4, 2014. You can find that on the Support Lifecycle page on Microsoft’s web site.
My Experience With Vista
Personally, I’ve had no problems worth mentioning with Windows Vista. Maybe I’m lucky, but I’d also say only a third of the people I know with Vista have any complaints — and some of them stopped complaining after Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) was released back around April 15, 2008. Also, I’ve heard lots of complaints from people who don’t have, or haven’t seen, Vista.
I have found that Vista works best on computers less than 3 years old, if the hard drive is completely erased (formatted), and Vista is installed from scratch. After the initial installation a few of the devices attached to my computer weren’t supported, but after I installed the most recent Windows Updates –this is prior to the release of Vista Service Pack 1, or SP1– all my devices were functioning properly.
Looking for a New PC?
If you’re in the market for a new PC, and you’re thinking about Windows Vista, I recommend you spend at least $1,200. That should buy enough processing power and memory to keep Vista, and you, happy. If your budget is under $800 you might consider in looking for a new XP while they’re still available. As always, I recommend buying from a major retailer or direct from the manufacturer.
Windows 7: The Next Windows
Microsoft has announced the pending release of what is being called Windows 7. According to John Fontana at NetworkWorld, a letter was sent out by senior vice president Bill Veghte at Microsoft to Microsoft customers on Tuesday, June 24, 2008:
In the letter sent to “Windows Customers” and titled “An Update on the Windows Roadmap,” Veghte said “our plan is to deliver Windows 7 approximately three years after the January 2007 general availability launch date of Windows Vista.”
Perhaps Windows 7 will do for Windows Vista what Windows 98 did for Windows 95, or what Windows XP did for Windows Me: It made Windows work again. Meaning? Perhaps Windows 7 will find the acceptance that has, so far, seemingly eluded Vista.
June 30, 2008: Windows XP going away today . . . but not really
Dwight Silverman’s TechBlog at the Houston Chronicle
June 30, 2008: Windows XP Officially Retired By Microsoft
By Paul McDougall at InformationWeek