Windows XP gets yet another reprieve from Microsoft

Windows XP gets yet another reprieve from Microsoft

Summary: On the eve of Microsoft pulling the plug on support for Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 2, company officials announced they are extending downgrade rights for Windows XP.

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On the eve of Microsoft pulling the plug on support for Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 2, company officials announced they are extending downgrade rights for Windows XP.

Originally, downgrade rights -- the sanctioned ability of Windows volume buyers to apply their new Windows licenses to older versions of the product -- were due to expire around 2011 for Windows XP. But on July 12, the Softies gave XP yet another reprieve.

Users who purchase new PCs installed with Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate will now be able to downgrade to XP up until January 15, 2015 (for Windows 7 Professional) or January of 2020 (for Windows 7 Ultimate), according to Computerworld's calculations.

The way Microsoft is phrasing the new end of life dates for XP is less clear-cut. The Microsoft "Blogging Windows" blog, in a July 12 post, explained it this way:

"(W)e have decided to extend downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional beyond the previously planned end date at Windows 7 SP1. This will help maintain consistency for downgrade rights throughout the Windows 7 lifecycle. As a result, the OEM versions of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate will continue to include downgrade rights to the similar versions of Windows Vista or Windows XP Professional.  Going forward, businesses can continue to purchase new PCs and utilize end user downgrade rights to Windows XP or Windows Vista until they are ready to use Windows 7."

I asked the Softies whether Computerworld's new deadline dates for XP downgrade-rights expiration is accurate. No word back yet.

Update (July 13):  Still can't get an actual date from the Softies. Via a Microsoft spokesperson: "People just won’t be able to buy a new PC with XP downgrade rights once Windows 7 stops being sold on new PCs -- which is 2 years after whatever's next comes out. So that is the closest we can get to an actual date; anything beyond that would be soothsaying. "

Update 2: My colleague Ed Bott does his own calculations and thinks 2015 is in the ballpark as the XP downgrade expiration date.

Microsoft defines downgrade righs as "an OEM’s ability to generally offer downgrade facilitation options (e.g., preinstalling Windows XP Professional on a new PC that includes end-user rights for Windows 7 Professional)."

Why is Microsoft extending the nine-year-old XP's life yet again? From a July 12 post on the company's "Blogging Windows" blog:

"While the majority of customers are actively transitioning to Windows 7, and PC manufacturers are focused on delivering PCs and devices with Windows 7 preinstalled, our business customers have told us that the removing end-user downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional could be confusing, given the rights change would be made for new PCs preinstalled with Windows 7 and managing a hybrid environment with PCs that have different end-user rights based on date of purchase would be challenging to track."

In other XP-related date news, July 13 is the end-of-support date for XP SP2 and Windows 2000. After that date, there will be no more paid or extended support by Microsoft for either operating system, meaning there won't be any more updates and fixes (security or otherwise) released for these Windows variants. Microsoft has been advising users to move to Windows XP SP3 or Windows 7 if they want to run a Microsoft-support client Windows release, going forward.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

About

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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  • January 2010?

    "Users who purchase new PCs installed with Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate will now be able to downgrade to XP up until January 15, 2010 (for Windows 7 Professional) or January of 2020 (for Windows 7 Ultimate), according to Computerworld?s calculations." January 2010 has already passed...
    DoubleRainbow
    • RE: Windows XP gets yet another reprieve from Microsoft

      @DoubleRainbow
      Typographical errors are on the rise due to the greater dependence by Editors on automated spell and grammar checks. Like in some SF books, technology first makes us lazy and then enslaves us as we give up our manual controls.
      netobvious
      • fixed the typo

        Thanks to all you kind copy editing readers... 2010 is now changed to 2015. MJ
        Mary Jo Foley
      • RE: Windows XP gets yet another reprieve from Microsoft

        Mary Jo,<br><br>If the <b>final date</b> for XP SP3 support ends on April 8, 2014, then how can they justify Win7 to XP downgrade rights until Jan. 15, 2015?<br><br>Are they gonna push that <b>final date</b> back as well?<br><br>Thank you.
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  • WHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYY?

    How could ANYONE possibly benefit from running a 10 year old operating system?

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    • RE: Windows XP gets yet another reprieve from Microsoft

      @NStalnecker

      Like a vintage car, it works fine for me. At this point all the software and hardware I use is performing as it should with no compatibility issues with people who have upgraded. I see no reason to bump my home computers up to Windows 7 (admittedly, they don't have the oomph to run it). When I retire them, I'll be happy to move on to the next OS.
      R.L. Parson
      • RE: Windows XP gets yet another reprieve from Microsoft

        @R.L. Parson Absolutely nothing wrong with keeping it on older machines that don't have the horsepower, but I find the whole "downgrade" thing mentioned in the article incredibly stupid.
        MikeR666
      • That is my situation also

        @R.L. Parson <br><br>I do not pay a lot of attention to the OS. If all my apps and my HW work and work well, why on earth would I spend time and money to upgrade. Just to be "cool"? Don't think so. Just because the OS is 10 years old? Don't think so. As far as I can tell the OS bits are not degrading at all, and will not degrade any time soon.<br><br>I find the MS comment about "removing end-user downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional could be confusing" laughable. How confusing can it be to lose the rights to downgrade? My guess is that with the economy still being sluggish and the world's governments looking under every rock to save money, open source is becoming a real threat to MS and they are doing whatever they can to hang on to their cash cows. If they were to force an upgrade on their customers, there is a real possibility that they might lose that customer altogether. That is certainly my position.
        Economister
      • RE: Windows XP gets yet another reprieve from Microsoft

        @Economister<br><br>What are you talking about? Do you know what downgrade rights mean? Here, let me give it you from the horses mouth.<br><br><b> Downgrade rights grant the right to use prior versions of Microsoft software. Microsoft Volume Licensing programs include specific downgrade rights. </b><br><br>Simply put, it means that you have ultimately already paid for Windows 7, but they'll give you free licenses to install XP on the hardware if you want. <br><br>Your argument is getting tired. Obviously, and unlike most other vendors, Microsoft is extending not only downgrade rights, but by default, updates for XP. <br><br>A 2010 car will have certain additional benefits that a 2000 car does not have, but it's still just a car. If the 2000 works, no one is forced to get a new one, unless they want the new features in the 2010.<br><br>The same with software. Windows 7 and even Windows Vista are far less prone to viruses than XP, but with safe practices, an XP computer can be very reliable.<br><br>And really... I mean really, can you name me one person that you know who genuinely upgraded to Windows 7 "just to be cool"? <br><br>
        PlayFair
      • Yup, I do understand perfectly

        @PlayFair

        Maybe it is you who do not understand the implications of my post. If an XP "shop" needs new HW they will want XP, and not Win7, at LEAST until they are ready to upgrade everything, after careful testing and evaluation. They will wipe Win7 off and re-image the HW with XP. That way they will only have to support XP. If MS did not allow that, then they would create difficulties for their customers and the customer may then re-evaluate ALL their options, including open source.

        At least that is how I would run IT
        Economister
      • But that's just how YOU would run IT.

        @Economeister Mixed deployments aren't that big a deal. There are advantages to phased migrations. Also keep in mind that in both nominal and real terms, Win7 hardware is less expensive than XP hardware was at release. Keeping a death grip on XP is short-sighted. <br><br>There's one glaring inconsistency in your argument about support for mixed deployments. If a mixed Windows environment is so onerous for support, what would a Linux migration be?
        Lester Young