The Life Cycle of XP Product and Support Services
Every Microsoft software product sold has a life cycle. The popular Windows XP operating system is set to complete the end of its life cycle and retire soon. This cycle begins at the launch date and goes through different phases, until the end of the product life cycle when the OS will no longer be supported at all.
Windows XP launched on Oct. 25, 2001. Over the years its popularity led it to become the most commonly used Windows OS and it became widely available during the 2001 Christmas Season. Sales for the Windows XP preinstalled edition officially ended on October 22, 2010.
XP was the most used Microsoft OS on home computers, schools, and organizations until August of 2012. This is an impressive run, especially considering Microsoft clearly communicates the end of the life cycle years before it actually reaches the expiration date. The long life cycle and popularity is at least in part due to its performance and quality technical support.
Windows XP Life Cycle Timeline
Operating System ———————————————Windows XP
Date of general availability ———————————-December 31, 2001
Retail software end of sales ——————————–June 30, 2008
End of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled———October 22, 2010
End of Support Date
In April 2009, the mainstream support of Microsoft Windows XP was discontinued, meaning users were left to hire third party vendors for product support. In fact, support for Windows XP SP1 (Service Pack 1) and Windows XP SP2 ended in 2006 and 2010 consecutively. Mainstream support for Windows XP SP3 will end on April 8, 2014. After that, official Microsoft Windows XP support will cease to exist in any form.
Windows XP users will not be protected against the latest hacking schemes and computer viruses, after the end of support date. The security and performance users grew to depend on over the years will no longer be dependable. Hackers are constantly creating new viruses, worms, spyware, and other threats; this is one reason why product support and updates are so crucial to a smooth-running operating system.
Support End Dates for Windows XP Service Packs 1-3
Operating System Date of Availability Support Retired
Windows XP SP1 August 30, 2002 October 10, 2006
Windows XP SP2 September 17, 2004 July 13, 2010
Windows XP SP3 April 21, 2008 April 8, 2014
What Will Happen to Windows XP Users?
When the support end date comes and goes, Windows XP will continue to run; there is no imminent self-destruct mechanism counting down internally. All the same, the end is near for Windows XP. No one knows for sure the exact date any unsupported operating system will fail; it this depends on how you take care of your computer as much as it depends on what operating system you have-especially when that system is outdated!
After Microsoft discontinues support, it is likely that third party tech support vendors will as well. Compatibility will become a serious issue. As time goes on, the probability of falling prey to the latest cyber attack will rise. The only way to avoid the inevitable is to upgrade to a new operating system, or to a device running a newer preinstalled OS.