Microsoft: It's time to upgrade to XP SP3
Some of Microsoft's older operating systems will soon take another step towards the end of their lifecycles.
Although XP is currently in its extended support phase, which runs until April 2014, users will need to be using a supported service pack to be eligible for this. The cut off for XP SP2 support is 13 July 2010 while support for XP SP1 ended in October 2006.
XP users will need to install SP3 through the Windows Update online service. Those not using XP SP2 will need to install this before downloading SP3.
XP SP3 will be supported for 24 months after the release of any additional service pack or until the end of the extended support phase - available to Software Assurance subscribers - in April 2014.
Microsoft will inform users of the need to upgrade in a number of ways. As well as the Windows Blog, the company is revamping its windows.com website to inform customers about the end of support for XP SP2 and prompt them to take action.
When users visit a Microsoft website, the website will detect if they are using XP and direct them to the relevant section if they need to install service packs.
July 2010 will also herald the end of support for Windows 2000 which was first released a decade ago.
Meanwhile, support for the release to manufacture version of Vista, will end on 13 April 2010. Users running Vista without any service packs will need to install one by this date with Microsoft suggesting they upgrade to the latest version, SP2.