XP gets a new lease on life

Planning to stick with Windows XP for a while? Microsoft just gave home users a gift of three additional years of support. For XP Home and Media Center editions, the "extended support" clock continues ticking till 2014, the same as it does for business users.

One of the favorite topics of conspiracy-minded readers is the notion that Microsoft is about to shut down support for Windows XP, forcing hapless users to buy Windows Vista. Back in September, in Vista Mythbusters #3, I reprinted the relevant dates from Microsoft's support lifecycle and pointed out that users of XP Home edition could expect support until at least April, 2011, with XP Professional getting support through April, 2014.

In that post, I noted, "And of course there’s always the possibility that Microsoft could extend support for XP as they did for Windows 98."

And that's exactly what Microsoft did today. From the press release:

Today, Microsoft is announcing the addition of an Extended Support phase for the Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Media Center Edition operating systems, providing consumers with an additional phase of support.

With the addition of Extended Support, the support life cycle for Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Media Center Edition will include a total of five years of Mainstream Support (until April 2009) and five years of Extended Support, matching the support policy provided for Windows XP Professional.

Bottom line: If you want to stick with Windows XP, you can choose to do so for more than seven additional years, with security updates available during that entire period.

With luck, Windows XP Service Pack 3 will be out before then.