As planned, Microsoft has quietly dropped its mainstream support option for its legacy operating system, Windows XP, today which is likely to have minimal impact on its customers.
As from today, 14th of April, there will be no more free per-incident support for the popular operating system although users will still get security patches automatically through Windows Update.
Customers will be able to get paid incident support by phone and through email and IT companies will need to be enrolled in its Extended Hotfix/Premier support contract to get Microsoft to help them for a fee.
Those having issues installing Windows XP however will still get free phone support - this is particularly important for those trying to reinstall their computers and hit a brick wall when it comes to activation or registration.
This is part of Microsoft's extended support lifecycle stage that Windows XP has now reached and will stay as such for the next five years. In April 2014, Microsoft will turn Windows XP life support off.
Windows XP and other variants have been in mainstream support for seven and a half years, rather than the usual five years, mainly because there was a big gap between XP and Vista releases.
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Microsoft, which has already shipped the third service pack for Windows XP, has already announced that users will be able to downgrade from Windows 7 to XP if they wished to do so. Downgrade options offered by some manufacturers, like HP, are likely to allow customers to use XP until 2012, 11 years after the operating system was launched. Vista is already more than two years old and did not have a significant impact compared to Windows XP, which is probably why Windows 7 will have to be slightly brought forwards.
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