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7/11/2006
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Hate The Vista Hype? How To Stay Happy With Windows XP

Think Windows Vista will bring more hot air than benefits? This article is for you. Here's how to get the most out of XP for a long, long time--including ways to get some of Vista's hot new features on XP right now.

When Windows Vista is released, the computing world will change forever, leading to a PC-based Nirvana in which system crashes are a thing of the past, productivity magically skyrockets, and a new era of world peace is ushered in.

Bah, humbug!

The curmudgeons of this world know that every new operating system brings with it at least much hype as benefits, and more often than not means spending lots of money in pursuit of the ever-elusive goal of making life at the keyboard perfect. And so they'd rather fight than switch.


Stay Happy With XP


•  XP Support Timing

•  Don't Switch, Save Money

•  Software And Hardware Concerns

•  Vista Features Lost -- And Found


This article is for them -- and for anyone who is considering staying with the old standby, XP, rather than switching to Vista. We want to help you get more out of XP as long as it lasts. We'll even show you how to get some of Vista's much-talked-about new features on XP right now.

So put your wallet away -- you won't need it just yet.

When Will Support For XP End?

At some point, Microsoft will stop supporting XP, which means no new patches and security updates. When will that be?

That depends on what you mean by the word "support" and which version of XP you're using. Microsoft has two kinds of support for operating systems: mainstream and extended. Mainstream support means that Microsoft sends out security updates and non-security hotfixes, adds new features, and offers paid telephone support.

Once mainstream support runs out, consumer versions of software are out of luck; however, enterprise-level software gets extended support, which offers a lower level of services. (For example, Microsoft doesn't add new features to an operating system during extended support.) For details, see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ.

So what does this all mean? Microsoft says it will end support for XP Home Edition two years after the release of Vista. In other words, if Microsoft keeps its planned January 2007 release date for the home editions of Vista, mainstream support for XP will end in January 2009. For Windows XP Professional, mainstream support will end two years after the release date of Vista, but extended support will go on for five more years, which would bring it to the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012.

To find support information for any specific Microsoft operating system or application, check out Microsoft's support lifecycle page.

One more thing to keep in mind -- if you're using XP Service Pack 1 (SP1), you're almost out of support right now. Microsoft will end support for it on October 10, so you'd better upgrade to SP2 right away. And if you're a die-hard operating system curmudgeon and have an earlier version of Windows, you're really out of luck. Extended support for Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, and Windows Millennium Edition (ME) ended on July 11.

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