Last April 14, Microsoft officially announced the end of mainstream support for Windows XP, seven years after XP originally shipped. Non-security patches, fixes, and updates are no longer available free from Microsoft, and phone support for security and non-security related issues and change requests are no longer provided. Any future bugs found in the platform will not be fixed without a fee.

This new development affects all versions of XP (except for Embedded): Home Edition, Media Center Edition 2002, Media Center Edition 2004, Media Center Edition 2005, Professional, Professional x64 Edition, Tablet PC Edition, and Tablet PC Edition 2005.

About 63 per cent of all internet connected computers still use Windows XP, according to March 2009 statistics from Hitslink, while Windows Vista makes up about 24 per cent. Businesses are in no hurry to move to the forthcoming Windows 7, either. A survey released by appliance vendor Kace revealed that 83% of businesses have no plans to upgrade their PCs to Windows 7 within the first 12 months of its availability. Microsoft is expected to release Windows 7 later this year or early next.

However, companies enrolled under Microsoft’s Premiere customer program have no worries, since Extended Support is available for them until April 8, 2014. Unfortunately this program is typically only available to large enterprise customers who enjoy volume licensing. Small businesses may be out of luck, unless they can work out a deal with a Microsoft channel partner for non-security related support.

Microsoft emphasized that security-related patches will still be issued for all legitimate XP users at no charge. This includes fixes for vulnerabilities inside Windows that worms such as Conficker exploit.

Those planning to upgrade, take note: while Windows 7 users will be able to downgrade to Windows XP, the reverse will not be true. Microsoft said in its Engineering Windows 7 blog that XP users will have to perform a full install to have a smooth experience with Windows 7.

Concerned?  We can help you sort out how these new policies affect you. Call us today.

Published with permission from Source.