Support for Windows XP Home edition and Professional edition without a service pack ended on September 30, 2005. Windows XP Service Pack 1 and 1a were retired on October 10, 2006 and Windows XP Service Pack 2 reached end of support on July 13, 2010, almost six years after its general availability.
The company stopped general licensing of Windows XP to OEMs and terminated retail sales of the operating system on June 30, 2008, 17 months after the release of Windows Vista. However, an exception was announced on April 3, 2008, for OEMs installing to ultra low-cost PCs (ULCPCs) until one year after the availability of Windows 7 (that is, until October 22, 2010).
On April 14, 2009, Windows XP and its family of operating systems reached the end of their mainstream support period and entered the extended support phase as it marks the progression of the legacy operating system through the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy. During the extended support phase, Microsoft continues to provide security updates every month for Windows XP; however, free technical support, warranty claims, and design changes are no longer being offered.
On April 8, 2014, all support for Windows XP, including security updates and hotfixes, will be terminated. Users will still be able to download old updates and hotfixes from Windows Update. Microsoft recommends that users upgrade to Windows 7.
In July 2010, Microsoft announced that permission for volume license users to downgrade from Windows 7 to Windows XP would extend until the end of the Windows 7 lifecycle. This announcement did not include any promise to extend technical support, security updates, or hotfixes beyond the April 8, 2014 deadline.
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—Aldous Huxley (18941963)