Windows XP going off market in June: What it means

Well it looks like XP is about to disappear from stores coming this June. Oh what shall I do If I still don't want to migrate to Vista? Well actually it will probably still be for sale in stores and such but Microsoft itself will no longer sell it. Read on.

Microsoft originally announced over a year ago that Windows XP would be going off the market in January 2008. XP was later given a brief stay of execution, to June 30, 2008. That deadline is fast approaching, which has led to much panicking from people who aren't quite sure what XP's "going off market" means, exactly.

People are still as confused as ever. So let's take a stab at clarifying, once again, what's going to happen by answering some frequently asked questions about XP's imminent disappearance.

Will Windows XP really no longer be on sale after June 30?
Sorry for the double negative, but no. All this means is that Microsoft will stop selling the OS. Finding a computer with XP preinstalled will likely be very difficult, as well. However, you'll still be able to find copies for the foreseeable future, and likely the unforeseeable one, too. See for yourself: You can find copies of just about any Microsoft product, including ancient versions of Windows and even MS-DOS, by simply searching online. But hang on to your current copy of Windows XP. You may need it down the road if you don't want to move to Vista.

Will I be forced to upgrade to Vista soon?
No. But it will get harder and harder not to, especially since new software and peripherals are likely to stop working with XP. That could take years.

Will my XP machine stop working in June?
No, but Microsoft will stop releasing non-security software updates to the masses on April 14, 2009. But let's be clear: XP will continue to "work" even after this point.

Will Microsoft shut off product activation for XP after June?
No, that would be crazy. While no one has said this will happen, it's conceivable that Windows could shut down product activation for XP at some point. But that would only happen after XP reaches its end-of-support term (when all support plans expire). The good news for you: That happens on April 8, 2014, which should be plenty of time to get the kinks worked out of Vista-or switch to a Mac, Linux, or anything else. Bottom line: Your copy of XP will work, totally legally, for at least six more years.

What about after 2014?
Well, that's unclear. But it's possible XP will stop being installable at that point. Microsoft's official policy is that these dates have "no affect [sic] on how long you can use a product," which may imply product activation will work forever. However, two things come to mind:

  1. Even the most die-hard XP enthusiast will probably be ready to upgrade at that point (as XP will be nearly 15 years old, and your PC will be dead by then, I'm sure).
  2. Even if Microsoft shuts off product activation, the hacker community will certainly make dozens of tools to let you continue using XP with abandon. Fret not.
Can I install XP on a PC that has Vista already on it?
Yes. You can delete any partition with any OS on it (and reformat it) during the installation of XP. If you're feeling brave, you can even run both OSes at the same time by setting up a dual-boot machine.

Whew! Does that clear everything up? Feel free to continue sending your queries and adding your comments below.

Note: This post was originally created in April 2007 and updated with new and changed information in April 2008.

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19 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

"People are still as confused as ever"

No, just the author. What is so confusing about Microsoft not offering XP to retailers anymore? It has no impact on Activation and no one is ever "forced" to upgrade. That us an illusion made up by someone who thinks Microsoft is some sort of monopoly.

Clearly, the qualifications to be a writer on Yahoo Tech are very, very low.

id rather migrate to a free os with alot less of the problems vista offers me. vista is way to expensive for small business and home owners. i have better things to do with my money seriously. and if you don't hey give me your money it would be a better investment.

"You use ****ty XP because you have a ****ty PC!" "No, actually, I use XP because it's faster." "Yeah, it's fast on old hardware!" "So? I don't need what Vista is offering me." Come on. Seriously, who cares who uses what? If you people are so hell-bent on convincing others to migrate to Vista, let the XP users figure it out for themselves. Until then, let them go down with the sinking ship. Besides, if it's such a bad thing that they're too stubborn to switch, aren't they the ones with the problem? Walk away, count to ten, take a deep breath, etc.

Those of us who prefer faster, lightweight computing. XP does everything I need it to with a smaller footprint, is more responsive, and doesn't use as many resources. Why would I use Vista? Yes, I used Vista for 9 months, I'm happily back on XP.

(Zoue said @ #2.1)
XP does everything I need it to with a smaller footprint, is more responsive, and doesn't use as many resources.

Resources are meant to be used, not conserved. 2GB of RAM is not luxury anymore. Or you're running some legacy hardware, which is a perfect place for a legacy OS.

(Zoue said @ #2.1)
Those of us who prefer faster, lightweight computing. XP does everything I need it to with a smaller footprint, is more responsive, and doesn't use as many resources. Why would I use Vista? Yes, I used Vista for 9 months, I'm happily back on XP.

A very subjective comment factoring on your own personal experience and specific hardware combination. I can say the exact opposite, For example. I've been running Vista on my main machine from its RC stage, And i wouldn't ever go back to XP. Vista feels more responsive in every way, Takes advantage of resources much better in terms of memory management, And has many more improvements, as far as I'm concerned.

And while i can imagine many other people claiming the same as you are, I can also imagine many, many more people supporting my claim as well.

EDIT: Figured I'd add that machine's specs - AMD AthlonXP 2400+, 1GB of DDR-333 and a Geforce 6600GT.

(Weissmeister said @ #2.2)
2GB of RAM is not luxury anymore.

Yes, now it's a ridiculous requirement. Check out this article to see how out of hand things are getting. This guy is spot on with his 'The Great Moore's Law Compensator'. Our computers are getting faster and faster, yet our computing is getting slower.

(Zoue said @ #2.4)


Yes, now it's a ridiculous requirement. Check out this article to see how out of hand things are getting. This guy is spot on with his 'The Great Moore's Law Compensator'. Our computers are getting faster and faster, yet our computing is getting slower.


Right, but I can't see any Microsoft's fault in it. All software tends to grow fatter. How do you like Adobe Reader? :)

EDIT: And I honestly can't call MS Office a resource hog, especially compared to OpenOffice.

(Weissmeister said @ #2)
Apart from those low end or ultra-mobile PCs, who needs that aging piece of software?

Aged or not, all i care is that i can do some work, play games and whatever else im doing on my pc. At the moment there is nothing in vista that interests me.

(chaosblade said @ #2.3)
EDIT: Figured I'd add that machine's specs - AMD AthlonXP 2400+, 1GB of DDR-333 and a Geforce 6600GT.

now that slow specs, you dont do gaming i guess, im running a pentium M 1.73 ghz, 2gb of ram, ati x600, and even with tweaking vista its slower, startup take long time (compared to XP), disabled aero glass to make it a little bit more responsive.

Anyways i have vista for about a year and with the release of SP3 maybe i go back to XP, SP1 bring some good things for me but its a downgrade in performance compared to vista NO sp1, my procesor run in low, my power settings its messed up with thinkpad pm.

Vista its good if you have a over 2ghz dual core, over 2gb of ram and a good modern video card. For everything less than that stay with XP

(chaosblade said @ #2.3)

A very subjective comment factoring on your own personal experience and specific hardware combination. I can say the exact opposite, For example. I've been running Vista on my main machine from its RC stage, And i wouldn't ever go back to XP. Vista feels more responsive in every way, Takes advantage of resources much better in terms of memory management, And has many more improvements, as far as I'm concerned.

And while i can imagine many other people claiming the same as you are, I can also imagine many, many more people supporting my claim as well.

EDIT: Figured I'd add that machine's specs - AMD AthlonXP 2400+, 1GB of DDR-333 and a Geforce 6600GT.

I'm sorry, but you just responded to a very subjective comment with a very subjective comment of your own, and not only that but you also pulled some random statistic out of thin air.

If you people want to argue performance, use benchmarks. Saying your computer is very responsive can mean anything, and again is very subjective.

Either way, those of us who game know better than to do it on Vista (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/xp-vs-vista,1531-4.html), and apparently as well as decoding and general tasks. Keep in mind that this is pre-SP1. I don't think SP1 really adds any performance increases, but feel free to prove me wrong.


"Resources are meant to be used when needed, not conserved. 2GB of RAM is not luxury anymore. Or you're running some legacy hardware, which is a perfect place for a legacy OS."

Fixed.

(eilegz said @ #2.9)
Vista its good if you have a over 2ghz dual core, over 2gb of ram and a good modern video card. For everything less than that stay with XP

I don't know what you're running (a virtual machine, perhaps) but 2GB of RAM are fine. I never saw any software fill all of it, even Crysis on an x64 system. And there aren't any special requirements for a videocard. The impact Vista has on gaming FPS is mostly that on CPU and RAM. Aero will run on almost any IGP, even Intel's.