It's no secret that corporations and home users alike have tried to steer away from Windows Vista since its initial launch. Unsatisfied with the Vista interface and performance, many consumers are now clamoring for the latest Windows incarnation in hopes for a better overall experience. Keeping that in mind, PC manufacturers are attempting to placate consumers by supplying the oldie-but-goody Windows XP operating system-- known for its great performance, stability, and easy user interface--on their machines.
Unfortunately, Microsoft handed the XP OS termination papers over to the cybernetic Grim Reaper, thus manufacturers are now limited to a certain number of XP solutions before the software officially goes flatline. As it stands, Microsoft will provide XP Pro Mainstream support until April 14, 2009, and Extended Hotfix Support until April 8, 2014. It's certainly unfortunate to see the end of a great, stable operating system, however based on feedback provided Windows 7 beta testers, consumers and businesses may have something to look forward to in the near future.
But for now, Microsoft is allowing manufacturers to keep Windows XP alive as a downgrade feature for pre-installed Windows Vista systems. Hewlett-Packard (HP) is one such company, and according to an article over on AppleInsider, Microsoft generously granted the PC giant an extension to its current Windows XP rights beyond that July 31 termination date. This means that HP can continue to provide the eight-year-old operating system on laptops, workstations, and business desktops for another year. However, neither company mentioned whether Windows XP Home editions would receive the same extension.
"Microsoft will allow PC OEMs to structure similar downgrade OS SKUs for Win 7 Professional once available," said HP. "No formal announcement has been made on the General Availability date for Win 7. However, you can anticipate that business desktops, notebooks and workstations will take advantage of this with the release of Win 7 in the October timeframe to allow our customers maximum headroom as they transition away from XP Pro OS. The Win 7 Professional to XP Pro downgrade OS will also discontinue on April 30th 2010."
Ultimately, Microsoft may find itself granting more extensions to other manufacturers including Acer and Dell, especially when said manufacturers are looking to release Ubuntu on PCs running customized versions of Linux (as already seen in the netbook market). Because Microsoft openly clarified that Windows 7 is an update version of Vista, manufacturers may find themselves in the same boat if Windows 7 reveals itself as "more of the same" in performance and consumer-oriented friendliness.
Keeping Windows XP is definitely a good thing, but eventually the old operating system will have to retire, and consumers will have to move on. There seems to be many positive attributes attached to the upcoming Windows 7 OS, a bright beacon during the dark days of Vista. But if things don't change in a year's time in regards to Windows 7 end-user reception, it will be interesting to see if Microsoft extends Windows XP again, or simply tells consumers, "that's enough, deal with it."
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
Hmmm, HP gets to continue selling PC's with a Windows XP downgrade option, and the latest Microsoft commercials both have their protagonists choosing HP computers in the end... Coincidence?Reply
Yeah, I bet this is some ploy to up relations with HP so they will stop selling Linux with their PCs :PReply
By the way, how about a Windows XP 2.0, Microsoft?
GreatWalrusYeah, I bet this is some ploy to up relations with HP so they will stop selling Linux with their PCs By the way, how about a Windows XP 2.0, Microsoft?They already answered the need for XP 2.0, it's Win7.Reply
No great feats of engineering with a good bit of UI polish = XP revisited.
Ugh... this is so stupid. 8 year old OS instead of Windows 7? I can only imagine one reason to choose that: stubborn. You've learned XP and understand it. You're afraid of change and fear Windows 7. You never actually tried Vista and fear it based on "rumors" from its early days where nVidia drivers were poorly written. Honestly, some of the complaints I've seen for Vista are just user ignorance. Hate UAC? Turn it off; sure, it offers no protection, but its not less secure this way than your beloved XP. Don't like where they put the menu items... sorry, just adapt it won't take long. Don't see a "run" option? Hit Windows+R or hell, just enable it on the start menu options. Laugh at these examples? They were part of an article explaining why Vista is so bad posted on C|Net / ZDNet. This is where people get their information from folks, and if they're reading this junk then they probably believe it and will choose XP over Vista. I'll grant that XP is a bit faster, but in 2009 we have dual core 4GB systems as entry level, with quad core 8GB being more in line with what most THG users probably have. How slow could one OS be on this hardware to make you absolutely hate it and want XP? The difference is measured in ms, and in games we're talking 1-2 fps. You can tell the difference between 57.8 and 59.2fps? Really?Reply
Hopefully Windows 7 will let us move on. This XP vs Vista debate has gone on far too long and the large base of stubborn XP users has impeded progress / change. Fact of the matter is Microsoft rewrote its kernel, hence why drivers needed to be rewritten. You can't deny that every software company is writing programs to run on Vista and Windows 7. You're stuck in XP, it won't be long before programs have to be released in two stages: Windows 7 first, then XP.
Plus, if you're running more than 4GB you need XP x64. The driver situation here is actually worse than Vista x64. You don't get any compatibility points for XP x64.
XP actually hasn't been faster in Vista since SP1, and a lot of the comparison charts were false. Vista is actually faster in certain situations.Reply
joex444Ugh... this is so stupid. 8 year old OS instead of Windows 7? I can only imagine one reason to choose that: stubborn.Reply
I admit i'm one of the stubborn, though it's actually more because my laptop was purchased in 2005, and wouldn't run Vista with any sort of speed.
I switched to Ubuntu a few months ago on that PC, and am holding off on getting another computer until Windows 7 has been out for a while (maybe 2nd quarter next year) and has proven to be the next "XP".
I think many people simply don't want to switch over because they don't see Vista lasting. Who would want to buy an operating system that is going to be obsolete within 3 months? Personally, when i build my next computer, i don't want to have to worry about upgrading the OS within the life of the machine.
He didn't mean people should move to Vista now, he means that most people should have moved to Vista about a year ago.Reply
joex444, do you work for Microsoft, do you get a commission for every XP user you turn over to Vista? Why do you care what OS people use? My biggest problem with Vista is that I don't see any reason to pay $200+ for it. It was bad enough I paid $200 for a Windows XP Pro Upgrade License 6 years ago (when I finally moved to XP), but XP is a world apart from Windows Millenium Edition. Vista isn't that much of an improvement over XP, especially if you turn off Aero and disable UAC (you take away its fancy graphics and security).Reply
Corporations and government want XP machines, whether their machines are brand new or 5 years old. There is demand for XP on new hardware. This has nothing to do with home users or gamers. We're talking Microsofts biggest customers, office users.Reply
thedipperHe didn't mean people should move to Vista now, he means that most people should have moved to Vista about a year ago.Reply
But again, why would you move if the talk is generally negative? What's the incentive? You have a good OS in XP already. And in the past, when an OS is not well received, it doesn't last very long. Why buy a new OS if you know you've got to upgrade it again within the life of the machine?