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Reminder: Support for Win 2K, XP SP2 Ends July

Consumers and businesses still using Windows 2000 (desktop and server) and Windows XP SP2 will see the end of Microsoft's official tech support on July 13, 2010. This means both parties will no longer receive security updates, support assistance, or help from paid support. But all is not lost: users of both operating systems will still have access to self-help online support for at least another year.

Microsoft originally gave notice of the termination back in April 2008 when it released Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. "This announcement is in line with the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy for Windows service packs.," the company said. "This policy states that when a new service pack is released, Microsoft will provide 24 months of support for the previous service pack for products that belong to the Windows product family."

Microsoft also stated that Windows XP transitioned from the Mainstream Support phase to the Extended Support phase back on April 14, 2009 after the release of SP3. During this phase, Microsoft will continue to provide paid support and security updates at no additional charge. However, the company plans to terminate (aka "retire") Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Currently memorial services for the popular, die-hard OS have not been confirmed.

For those still using Windows XP with SP2 installed, the best way to extend the life of the OS is to (gasp) update to SP3. This can be done via Internet Explorer's Windows Update utility. Then again, this would be a good time to ditch Windows XP altogether and grab a copy of Windows 7--an upgrade that is well worth it.