Vista Mythbusters #3: Will Microsoft dump XP to push Vista?

Vista Mythbusters #3: Will Microsoft dump XP to push Vista?

Summary: Conspiracy theorists believe Microsoft is plotting to drop support for Windows XP as soon as Vista comes out, thereby forcing Windows users to upgrade or else. The reality? You can count on at least four years of support for XP. I've got the details and the exact dates.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Windows
216

Myth: Microsoft plans to drop support for Windows XP shortly after the release of Windows Vista, forcing Windows users to upgrade or else.

Reality: Under Microsoft's published guidelines, consumers will have more than four years to safely say no to Windows Vista, and business users will be able to hold out until at least 2014.

In the Talkback section of many Vista posts, I read lots of speculation from conspiracy theorists who are convinced that Microsoft is plotting to push unwilling Windows users into Vista upgrades. That common comment inspired today's edition.

The key dates are all available via the Microsoft Support Lifecycle, which lays out Microsoft's support commitments for every product it sells. Unlimited support isn't an option, but neither is arbitrarily ending support.

So how long can XP users say no to Windows Vista? A lot longer than you might think. For Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional, the stated policy is simple:

Mainstream support will end two years after the next version of this product is released.

You want the exact date? Earlier this year, Microsoft adjusted its policy so that product support ends on the second Tuesday after the end of the quarter in which the calendar-based expiration date falls. (Why the second Tuesday? Because that's the day on which updates are released.) So, assuming Microsoft sticks to its announced January 2007 release date for the consumer version of Windows Vista (or even if they delay the official release until February or March 2007), that means mainstream support for all versions of Windows XP will continue at least until April 14, 2009.

But that's not the end of the road for XP. Because Windows XP Professional falls into the "business and developer software" category, it qualifies for another five years of extended support, during which Microsoft commits to releasing security updates and continuing to offer paid support. That means anyone using Windows XP Professional (including the x64 and Tablet PC editions) will be able to count on receiving security updates through April, 2014. Under the published security update policy, those security updates will continue to be delivered through Windows Update for at least two years after the beginning of the extended support phase, or until at least April, 2011.

And what about the consumer versions of Windows XP - Home and Media Center? The good news is that those versions are built on the same code base as the business versions of XP, so any security update developed for one will almost certainly apply to another. In fact, a quick visit to the Microsoft Security Bulletin Search page confirms that service packs and updates are not issued separately for Home and Professional editions of Windows XP. So the bottom line is consumers can count on security updates arriving until April 2011. And of course there's always the possibility that Microsoft could extend support for XP as they did for Windows 98.

At any rate, you've got at least four years during which you can continue using a supported copy of Windows XP and thumb your nose at the Vista upgrade.

Update 11-Sep: In the Talkback section, Robert Crocker asks: "How long [will] XP remain available for retail purchase? ...  If you can't buy XP off the shelf then it has effectively been dumped for new computers." According to Microsoft's Windows Desktop License Availability policy, new licenses will be available in all channels, including retail, for 12 months after Windows Vista is generally available. OEM System Builder licenses will be available for 24 months after Vista is released. Of course, that's the schedule that Microsoft has committed to follow for retail and OEM partners. There's no requirement for retailers to pull product from the shelves when those dates arrive, so it should still be possible to find legal copies of Windows XP for some time after the official deadline has passed.

For the introduction to this series, see Vista Mythbusters #1. For all posts in this series, see this page.

Topic: Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

216 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Myth 0 : There are 10 Vista myths circulating.

    "Myths"? What "myths"? You mean "opportunities to write Microsoft advertising copy", I think ...
    whisperycat
    • What makes you think that?

      Do you have a crystal ball to predict what the next seven will be?

      How do you know that some of them won't be related to myths that are being spread by Microsoft and its defenders?

      Sure is easy to make an idiot out of yourself when you leap to conclusions.
      Ed Bott
      • We're waiting

        It will be interesting to see the myths on the other side of the fence busted.

        As for this one, of course Microsoft won't immediately dump XP support to push Vista. That's just bad all around. A lot of people won't make the jump to Vista for a good while and Microsoft won't want to lose that already defined base.
        Sabz5150
        • why are we safe for 4 years?

          According to myth 4, Microsoft will dump support 4 years later allowing companies to hold out for 4 years? Hold out for what? Are the anticipating that Microsoft will come after them for not upgrading and increasing their bottom line? How bout this as a conspiracy theory, Microsoft will deploy a bug at the end of the 4 year cycle to destroy and crash all obsolete versions of the OS causing those who still insist to either disable updates so that they can run their machine forever, or shell out tons of money for another 10 years of harassment from Microsoft. So you see, the choice isn?t that bad. You can bend over now and take it like everyone else, or you can take it later when they force you.
          mypl8s4u2
      • Based on the first three, you aren't busting any myths, but just making a

        fool of yourself. There is really no value in upgrading to Vista given the other options, the hardware requirements, and the lack of any compelling features in Vista.

        Couple this with Microsoft using your adoption against you to lock you unknowingly into proprietary protocols, apis, etc, that will force you to keep paying higher prices for lower quality, and it is a no brainer to stay clear of Vista. Why do business with a company like this???
        DonnieBoy
        • Here's Myth number 4:

          DonnieBoy know's what he's talking about.
          John Zern
          • The other myth is that people think they will gain respect when they have

            no argument and just spew meaningless insults.

            Your argument was???
            DonnieBoy
          • And that's a myth you seem to believe in.

            You posts about Vista are both meaningless and without any facts. And as you said...

            "The other myth is that people think they will gain respect when they have no argument and just spew meaningless insults."

            Yes indeed, I'd say that shoe is a perfect fit for you.
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Oh but you need to make that a list

            Otherwise you will probably end up creating 47 myths about people who claim to know what they are talking about. Let's include a few here:

            NonZealot
            LinuxGeek
            Loverock Davidson
            Tic Swayback
            Robert Crocker
            Voska
            richvball44
            nucrash
            jragosta
            mvora
            No Axe To Grind
            An Axe to Grind
            Shade Tree
            Monkey MCSE
            Zmud
            LinuxFan
            BootAgnostic
            Intellihence
            Southern Pride

            I know I missed a few, but I thought I would give you a starting list.
            nucrash
          • you forgot

            john carrol
            george ou
            skeptic tank
          • You forgot to add yourself

            I've never made claims beyond my own personal experience and I've never claimed a degree real or otherwise in a field, so if you can't handle personal perspective, you've failed to realize you're in a public forum to list.
            Boot_Agnostic
        • Today, upgrading to Vista ...

          ... is indeed of limited value. By January, that may not be true and certainly by 2009, there will be a lot of applications which take advantage of Vista's new features which will probably have expanded somwhat through free service packs.

          By 2009, hardware running at speeds below 2GHz will be all but gone. If you are still running Office 2003 (and your other circa 2003 software) in January 2009, then maybe it won't matter to you. Fine, stay with Windows XP until 2014 when MS quits providing free security updates. That would be 13 years ater Windows XPs release. A remarkable feet indeed considering that Windows 95 was released 11 years ago and has long since disappeared from the scene. Most people don't keep their cars for five years, why in the world are people bitching because Microsoft want to put you into a shiny brand new OS after fives years?
          M Wagner
          • Upgrading, or not.

            "Most people don't keep their cars for five years, why in the world are people bitching because Microsoft want to put you into a shiny brand new OS after fives years?"

            A car wears out. An OS does not.

            If cars did not wear out, most people would buy a car and only buy a new one when there were enough new features to make it worthwhile to upgrade. Will Vista have new features? Sure it will. Will they be enough of a carrot for people to upgrade? Maybe, but there are still tremendous numbers of people/businesses out there using Win95/98 because they don't need anything newer.

            MS on the other hand wants to push everyone to "upgrade" to Vista. Not out of any inherent need, but simply to pad MS's bottom line. Thus MS has to resort to the stick of "No security updates for you."
            Letophoro
          • Are you kidding?

            "[B]By 2009, hardware running at speeds below 2GHz will be all but gone.[/B]"

            There are an awful lot of people that are still running 900MHz and slower systems out there... many more in the 1-1.5 GHz range as well.

            Maybe in large companies, anything less than 2GHz will be gone, but keep in mind they are also going to need that extra horse power to run their new shiny Windows systems.

            I have several small businesses that are running on 1GHz systems with Linux as the desktop and FreeBSD as the server... and barring total failure of their systems they will continue to run them until... they die! Personally I have a 1.2GHz AMD that I have been running for over 5 years, and I will continue to use it until the CPU or motherboard dies, and if the board dies, I will get a new one. Simple.

            But to say all but gone? Not at home! Many of the people I have worked for (private home clients) are or were running older systems deemed obsolete. As people start to figure out they can revive thier old hardware many will, because they don't need or see a compelling reason to have a monster system for what they do.

            As for the comparrison between cars and OS's... cars wear out and eventually start to cost more than they are worth, in the grand scheme it's cheaper to replace than to repair. OS's on the other hand don't wear out, but I digress maintaining a Windows system can be an expensive proposition as well. ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Information Technology sector

            I am amazed at how naive people can be, stick with something totally outdated. In IT it changes daily, get use to it, the next wiz-bang feature, new code, new release if happening all the time.

            Today TIME is more valuable than money, if it takes 5 minutes to complete a task on a old outdated SLOW machine, I would rather only waste 30 seconds of my time than sit around on some ancient machine with outdated memory, board, cpu, hard-drive and so on.

            Speed is what computing is all about, not some Mom & Pop business you are pushing Linux on, in the real world Grid computing where sub-second transactions are the norm, not some ancient workstation that is obsolete...

            Besides, whether you running (Linux) which I use at work/home all the time on old hardware is DOG slow. Besides, why do I want to wait 5 minutes to complile a kernel when it can be done in less than 1 minute or less?
            Linux User 1
          • Clue for ya

            first put the moonshine down and get away from the still.

            second not everyone needs the latest and greatest and for that matter the latest and greatest isn't always that great!

            third, the applications my clients are using do exactly what they need and comply with HIPPA as well as fit into the budget they have defined for me to adhere too.

            fourth, speed is not what computing is all about. Speed is only one aspect of it. There is the containment of information in one location that is easily retrieved (beagle in Linux has been probably one of the most liked features of the Linux desktop). The reduction of paper which in turn means the reduction in waste of another natural resource, which also means a smaller office because now the need for storage is mitigated by the fact that all those filing cabinets are now contained on a server that is backed up offsite. The reduction in space means a reduction in rent/mortage for the owner as well as a reduced utility bill plus since the computer eases the data processing fewer people are needed so there is a reduction in non-essential personnel.

            You have such a narrow view of what a computer is used for and your opinion is that of a very young man, or ignorant. And WTF are you talking about compiling kernels? I haven't compiled a kernel in years!

            The systems I provided meet the needs, the cost and perform their duties quite well. Another strength of the Linux systems is their ability to be adapted to just about any CPU - RAM - video configuration with little effort. Your post is typical, full of ignorance. ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • A clue for you, when you can read...

            I guess when computing came about your name is brought up, I am so sure HIPPA is all about calling you for a reference (maybe for you mental instability).

            You have NO idea about Enterprise computing, you 'claim' to be a Linux wizard and you have never compiled a kernel (step away from the Lithium)...

            Only a complete idiot would take your advice, sure run Linux on a 486 with 16 meg of memory with X running yeah right, quit smoking those left handed cigs will ya?

            Meanwhile, the world passes you buy working in your dad's basement, keep on living in the past you moron.
            Linux User 1
          • Maybe you should go back to school and learn to read!?

            ?[B]I guess when computing came about your name is brought up, I am so sure HIPPA is all about calling you for a reference (maybe for you mental instability).[/B]?

            Umm do you know what HIPPA is? Obviously not, because the folks that write it do not ask me or any other support tech squat. They do however inspect our systems and the offices of the folks we work for to ensure we are in compliance with their regulations. Get educated on what HIPPA is and what is needed to be compliant you half witted inbred.

            ?[B]You have NO idea about Enterprise computing, you 'claim' to be a Linux wizard and you have never compiled a kernel (step away from the Lithium)...[/B]?

            I would say I have more of an idea than you, next your reading comprehension is again in question, so let me highlight it here for you again inbred: [U]I haven't compiled a kernel in [B][I]years![/I][/B][/U] you seemed to have missed that all important word at the end of my sentence. Again put the moonshine down and go back to school... while your at it get out of your sisters bed.

            ?[B]Only a complete idiot would take your advice, sure run Linux on a 486 with 16 meg of memory with X running yeah right, quit smoking those left handed cigs will ya?[/B]?

            What in the hell are you blathering about? What a dolt!

            ?[B]Meanwhile, the world passes you buy working in your dad's basement, keep on living in the past you moron.[/B]?

            LOL! Right... ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Try again Linux Loser

            Ah, the irony of it all, a 125lb weak individual who thinks they are a expert in everything. I am sure everyone is so sick of hearing your brag about your pathetic life, they just agree.

            Meanwhile in reality you run and hide at the sight of anything that scares you, (everything).

            Did you have a bad day, or did you get out of your parents basement? Remember that one day you can be someone, but not until your mental disorder is cured.

            You are a idiot, plain and simple.

            No one wants to hear how 'smart' you claim to be or this made up business you have. I guess your mom's gargage must double as your 'pc' paradise.

            Maybe you can join greenpeace they are always looking for people like you plus you would fit in right, peace I am scared your motto.
            Linux User 1
          • Linux Loser?

            Gee now that's original! ]:)
            Linux User 147560