Windows XP fading away on June 30, 2008?

Windows XP Professional Upgrade Retail

Windows XP Profession still Lives...for Now

Aug 28, 2008:  For the moment you can still purchase Lenovo Thinkpads, Toshiba business notebooks (Tecra) and Dell Latitude notebooks and Optiplex Desktops with Windows XP Professional.  Dell calls it a Windows XP 'Genuine Windows Vista Business (or Ultimate) Bonus-Windows XP Professional downgrade.'   PCNS is pleased that OEM's such as Dell stood their ground and didn't cave in to Microsoft (like Gateway did).  Microcenter still sells the business budget based Inspiron 530 Desktop PC with Windows XP Professional for $399.99.  You do not have to buy a refurbished or used PC to get Windows XP.

Windows XP Home Edition Extended - a lukewarm victory

As ArsTechnica put it, Microsoft had no viable alternative to low cost ultra portable PC's like the Asus EEEPC and Intel Classmate, Vista is just too bloated.  According to this news story, Microsoft will extend XP Home Edition for two years.  The PCNS take:  A lukewarm victory, only ultra low end budget pc's will see Windows XP Home edition.  But don't be mislead - PCNS bets you won't see it on more budget mainstream budget laptops like Celeron based Dell's.  

PCNS predicts a strong market for refurbished PC's with Windows XP Pro and Home Editions.


Windows XP Fading into Oblivion?

It is more important than ever in taking steps to keep your PC running reliably, problem free, and as long as possible.  This is due to the fact that Microsoft will discontinue the sale of all versions of Windows XP effective June 30, 2008.  After June 2008, Microsoft will be shoving Windows Vista down our throats, whether we are ready for it or not.  For many small businesses, this will result in significant expenditures requiring owners to upgrade software which works without a hitch on Windows XP, to a version which will run on Windows Vista.  Many companies run older vertical market software which cannot be upgraded or replaced, and will not run under Vista. While downgrading Windows Vista to Windows XP is starting to have a following, don't bet on this as a long term strategic move.  Even though you may be able to find Windows XP on software clearance sites after June 2008, driver availability for devices for Windows XP will diminish on newer PC's because it costs PC and hardware manufacturers more to code drivers for older operating systems.  In a cut throat PC market with low profit margins and high support costs, one way to cut costs is to offer driver downloads only for the original operating system which was originally installed.  

Consider the HP Pavillion 2210US Notebook PC.  When you visit their driver page on HP.COM's website, you'll discover 12 drivers for Windows XP, and 27 Drivers for Windows Vista.   I'll call this "driver fade," or the slow fading of available drivers for Windows XP.  While it may be possible to download drivers from a manufactuer's website directly (for example the Ricoh 5 in 1 card drivers for Windows XP from Ricoh's download site), it would be prudent to assume eventually Ricoh will stop writing drivers for new and evolving product, for 'obsolete' operating systems.  PCNS believes this won't happen for a couple of years (however driver fade is in progress with certain PC's now), so successful downgrades should be possible for the next few years, but it will become increasingly difficult.

Why do I need to be concerned about this now?  To avoid the downgrade headaches and extra licensing costs with downgrading, buy new PC's this year with Windows XP if you can.   A new PC should give you three to four years peace of mind.  To keep that new pc (or your existing PC running as long as possible), consider the following items:

  • A Battery Backup for your Desktop PC is good common sense.  Battery backups not only protect your system from surges, it also protects them in the event of power failures.
  • An Extended Warranty, so should a catastrophic failure occur, 2 or more years past the manufacturer's standard 1 year warranty, it will not necessitate replacing the entire PC.
  • Scheduled Maintenance - dust removal and inspections, so potential problems can be spotted early.

Help prevent Windows XP from Fading Away!

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