Support For Early Editions of Windows XP, Vista Ending Soon

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is reminding users that support for several editions of Windows will end beginning April 13, 2010. It will mean no more security updates, though users can easily upgrade to supported editions without charge.

The affected editions are Windows XP with the second service pack (SP) and Vista with no service pack applied. In other words, if you haven't already installed at least Windows XP Service Pack 3 or Vista Service Pack 1, your computer will be exceedingly vulnerable to security exploits (and hackers).

Service packs are collections of security and software updates which are gathered together into one super-update. As well as allowing existing users to catch up on monthly or emergency updates they've missed out on, service packs are also sent out to PC manufacturers to include on the new machines that they sell.

Vista, XP Deadline Coming April 13

The Vista support will end on April 13 while XP SP2 maintenance concludes July 13, 2010. After that, people running the relevant editions will no longer be able to get monthly updates from Microsoft. This is significant, as it means machines won't benefit from fixes to newly discovered exploits and will become particularly vulnerable to security threats.

Although support and updates end, the systems will continue to function on the user's PC. (Source:

The simplest solution is to apply a later service pack: SP3 for XP and SP1 (or ideally SP2) for Vista. In both cases these can be downloaded without charge from Microsoft's website. For people who either don't want to download or have a particularly poor connection which makes this unsuitable, the service packs can be ordered on CD for a fee of a few dollars.

Windows 2000 Support To End July 13

As well as these editions, Microsoft will be withdrawing support from Windows 2000 completely on July 13, 2010. In all three cases, Microsoft, naturally, suggests upgrading to Windows 7. (Source:

The firm has put together two websites detailing the changes and possible solutions. One deals with the XP and Vista issue, while the other covers Windows 2000. The latter pays particular attention to businesses which are still running Windows 2000 and for whom it's an extremely good idea to be figuring out a way of moving to a later system as soon as possible.

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