Microsoft: June 30 Windows XP cut-off set in stone

Microsoft: June 30 Windows XP cut-off set in stone

Summary: Microsoft made it official on April 3: There will be no new reprieves for Windows XP (other than on Ultra Low-Cost PCs).Some customers and partners had been hoping the company might extend again the deadline for all PC makers to be allowed to preload Windows XP, rather than Windows Vista, on new PCs.


Microsoft made it official on April 3: There will be no new reprieves for Windows XP (other than on Ultra Low-Cost PCs).

Some customers and partners had been hoping the company might extend again the deadline for all PC makers to be allowed to preload Windows XP, rather than Windows Vista, on new PCs. But today, Microsoft officials said the current June 30, 2008 cut-off date would remain in place for the vast majority of machines.

The one new exception, as some were anticipating, are Ultra Low-Cost PCs (ULPCs), which Microsoft defines as systems like the Asus Eee and Intel Classmate -- "significantly more restricted hardware with less expensive processors and more limited graphics capabilities. ULPCs should not be confused with the higher-priced and more robust UMPCs, or Ultra-Mobile PCs (a k a "Origami" devices); Microsoft is continuing to encourage UMPC makers to build their systems around Vista.

As Microsoft officials announced on April 3, makers of ULPCs will be allowed to continue to preload XP on ULPC machines until June 30, 2010, or one year after general availability of the next version of Windows, whichever comes first later (sorry, my error), according to Microsoft.

(Microsoft has said that its target delivery date for Windows 7, the next version of Windows, is some time in 2010.)

The majority of, if not all, ULPCs are incapable of running Vista, with its higher RAM and graphics requirements. But they can and do run Linux. That proved to be a good incentive for Microsoft extending the XP cut-off deadline for those low-end machines.

For plain-vanilla PCs, Microsoft is holding fast to its June 30 preload cut-off for XP. (In September, Microsoft granted PC makers a five-month extension, allowing them to continue preloading and selling at retail Windows XP until June 30 of this year. ) 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. And Vista Business and Ultimate customers with volume-license contracts can still get XP via their “downgrade” rights.

Microsoft will still provide mainstream (free) support for XP until April 2009. Extended support (free for security fixes and paid for other help) ends in 2014.

What's your take? Did Microsoft make the right decision in holding fast to the June 30 XP cut-off date?


Topics: Windows, Emerging Tech, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • So if they are still supporting it on limited hardware

    seems to reason you can still buy uninstalled copies of it if that's what you want. So you can just buy a no-OS system and install XP yourself, if that's what you want.
    Michael Kelly
    • Sure, but you pay through the nose for a non-oem version, then have to deal

      with installing it, locating drivers.
      • Anyone can go online and buy ...

        ... "system builder" licenses for much cheaper than retail. The amount of trouble it takes to go get old drivers and such (most of which won't work with new hardware anyway) is the point. VISTA is much easier to install, it more reliable, and is more secure. You canot have your cake and eat it too!
        M Wagner
        • And who determines what "anyone can do"?

          You, and Microsoft, perchance?
          Ole Man
          • it's called free will

            Maybe you've heard of it.
          • Yes I have

            That is exactly what Microsoft, with their devious manipulation and their sycophants , are desperately trying to prevent.

            Are you actually for "free will", or whatever Microsoft will permit you to do?
            Ole Man
          • You should be one of two things

            Either laughed at, or pitied.

            Since witnessing someone voluntarily submit to abusive authority is not funny, I suppose it would have to be pity, but you can bet your Bippie it will be a very small minuscule amount of pity coming from me.
            Ole Man
          • What's your platform of choice?

          • If you have any doubts about it....

            All you have to do is go to Tiger Direct, Newegg, heck your local Frys, and say "I want a System builder OEM of (your favorite version).

            Next you pay for it (Home Premium is about $109)

            Take it home..

            Put it in your DVD Rom, and re-start the computer.

            Follow the directions (takes about 20 minutes).

            There you have it, nice shiny Vista (or XP) system. little hastle, little pain.

            Connect it to your Bradband cable and click "windows update" then you will have most basic drivers.
          • Wonder where?

            My reply went, stating that I have no doubts about it? Another strange disappearance on ZDNet. The mystery grows (not really, we KNOW what happened).

            Oh well, I guess ZDNet doesn't want anyone to know that I've installed Windows (XP) bunches of times and that Tiger Direct's Rebates stink so bad I haven't bought anything from them in years.

            Better to make the Microsoft salesman look good than to shine a disparaging light on Windows.

            Too bad they don't detail the EULA when promoting Windows!
            Ole Man
        • True!

          Hunting for XP drivers, which may not even be available for new hardware, may be frustrating at best and futile at worst.

          Vista is a much better choice.
        • Vista is not more reliable than XP!

          My wife has a new Vista HP desktop and it was unstable right out of the box! Even after MS and HP say there are no more bloody updates the machine is still unstable.
          I did buy a new PC just after XP came out and it was solid! Liked XP from day one! Upgraded an old ME desktop with XP Pro and made it a stable usable machine.
          To be fair Vista's SP1 install went without issue in less than an hour on my dual boot XP MCE & Vista Ultimate (yes I fell riped off) 4G (5G counting the video memory) machine. It boots faster which is a good thing considering how often Vista needs to boot. I never found Vista to be noticeably slow so it maybe faster too. SP1 fixed the fan problem but I still had to update the BIOS, which worked fine with XP, to get sleep mode to work. Vista is still looks to be corrupting the raid-5 environment which also works fine in XP.
          • Hmm...

            Hewlett Packard... I've never been thoroughly impressed with their desktops. I like the case features, but the software they bundle tends to make the computer uneasy in terms of stability. I've been using Vista as a pilot for our corporation and I've run into only a few instances where there was an issue, but I am also running a Dell Optiplex 745, with a standard set of hardware... so drivers aren't an issue for me. I've been surprised a few of my older apps even run. Our administrator is really pushing us to make the move for the ease of install and increased security.
        • VISTA Easier?

          For someone with the latest and greatest equipment, maybe VISTA is "easier", etc. But...for us IT Directors, our business programs are still not "VISTA compatable", nor is our hardware. We are looking at a 2-3 year period to upgrade our hardware to be able to run VISTA - a considerable cost considering the fact that VISTA is slower, bigger, etc.
          Give me Win XP for a while yet!
  • Bit of a Luddite there? :)

    "creates a mixed OS environment that is not good for anyone."

    I'm running just under 50% Vista Business, along with XP, Win2k Server, Win2003 32 and 64bit server. Not having any troubles, the Vista machines simply work. Of course I've been *replacing* uber-old hardware, (some of which started out on 98SE)instead of trying to upgrade to Vista, but then my Vista PCs started off at $600 and are now $500 for Core 2 Duo, 2GB, 250GB HD systems. With the on-board Intel graphics chipset they're running Aero just fine.

    At this point we have one archaic vertical market POS software that won't run on Vista (no hardware driver for their dedicated copy-protection PCI card) but then again it only took them 5 years to support PCI *at all*. :)

    "(Office 2007 hater.. dam thats bloated)"

    Don't hate what you haven't tried, I've got 2007 installed at home, and it's *NICE*. So far I've only been using Word but it's night and day. The Ribbon rocks. HARD. :)
    • I think you're the luddite

      Fact is most of the vendors of our mission critical software applications don't support Vista yet. Our most critical application is not slated to be Vista compatible until 2009. The cost to migrate to an alternative that is Vista compatible would be astronomical. This impacts our ability to take advantage of new hardware capabilities. This is a tremendous blunder on Microsofts part.

      I don't hate MS like many do but I'm starting to. I may look for alternatives to MS products in other ways when possible now that they've pissed me off. This is how you screw up a relationship with a loyal customer.
      • blame the right company.

        the tremendous blunder is from your critical business software vendor. Do they support all versions of OS X or Ubuntu? Is that Apple or Canonical's blunder?
        • good point

          You make a valid point. MS should still know that there are many vendors like that and have good judgement when the right time to make such a move. I am also critical of my vendors and they know that.
          • It's probably both companies at fault here

            I think the unfortunate thing here is that they most likely knew all about the portion of vendors whose products wouldn't be able to be Vista-compatible before June 08, but ran a cost-benefit of customers lost due to forced upgrades (you) vs. increased revenue for the Vista upgrades from people whose essential products are compatible already and your side was on the losing end. So essentially it's the "fault" of both companies, though I suspect in both cases it wasn't an oversight as much as it was just about the bottom line. The good news is that this has probably got your vendor working night and day to try and get a Vista-compatible version out as soon as possible lest they lose new potential customers.
      • It's not Microsoft's fault ...

        ... that your software vendor did not have the foresight to get their code working under Vista during the second half of 2006, when most other vendors were scurrying around doing just that. (Remember, ALL XP-compliant code works under Vista -- only non-XP-compliant code, most of which ran under XP anyway, fails under Vista.)

        Besides, if you want to, you can keep downgrading to XP 'til the cows come home.

        To expect Microsoft (or it's OEMs) to wait for every software vendor to come on board is simply unrealistic.

        MS and it's OEMs must determine when it is costing them too much to keep XP around in order for XP sales to remain profitable. They have apparently come to that point.
        M Wagner