Windows XP Rides Off into the Sunset

Microsoft's Windows XP operating system has had a heck of a run. We've blogged about the Windows Vista downgrade program and the Windows XP End of Life back in 2008. Some of you may have seen some recent blog posts about Microsoft's plan to phase out the Windows XP operating system, and those kinds of posts are raising some of the same questions we're hearing from customers.

Here's my attempt to interpret the details. Thanks to my colleague John Noesser for helping me pull details together for this blog post.

Per Microsoft guidelines regarding Windows XP, system vendors like Dell will no longer be able to ship systems with XP Professional and XP Home after October 22, 2010. This means that we will stop offering XP as an option for customers starting this month in preparation for next month's deadline. One other important thing to note is that Dell plans to continue Windows XP driver support until December 2012.

After the October 22 date, qualified customers will still be able to get systems with Windows XP (more details below) through Dell's Custom Factory Integration service. Otherwise, customers who order new machines with Windows 7 Professional or higher can run XP applications in Windows XP Mode. Click on this link (or the image below) and choose the Windows XP Mode tab like I did in this screen grab for more details. And here's more from Microsoft on Windows XP Mode.

Windows XP Mode 

If you have questions, I recommend that you check with your account representative. For more information you can also take a look at Microsoft's lifecycle policy.

We've been working with a wide range of customers for a long time on this front. If it helps, here's an excerpt from a letter that we've shared with many of our customers:

Per Microsoft, only qualified end users meeting the Custom Image requirements will be able to get a new system with factory-preinstalled Windows XP Professional, XP Home, & XP Tablet products after October 22, 2010. This means that OEMs must stop the shipment of ALL XP orders on this date.

To ensure customers receive their XP orders prior to the October 22, 2010 deadline, Dell will begin removing XP as an option in September. There will be three options for your IT Staff to consider: (1). Complete your migration to Windows 7. Dell offers several services that can assist you with compatibility testing and deployment (2). Use the XP media to Hand Install XP onsite (3). Incorporate CFI services to assist your XP image loads. Please ensure that your organization has selected a strategy and that your account executive is fully aware of how you want to proceed.

As a result of this change, Microsoft has decided to extend end user downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional beyond the previously planned end date and through the end of the Windows 7 lifecycle to maintain consistency of downgrade rights for the duration of Windows 7.

Dell recognizes that many corporate organizations and institutions are standardized on these operating systems and that transitioning to a new operating system is both expensive and time consuming. Our goal is to help drive down the total cost of ownership of our relationship products and provide managed transitions for our customers. Please contact your account team for additional information regarding the Microsoft Windows Downgrade Rights programs and how Dell can help your organization assess your compatibility with Windows 7.

About the Author: Faith Chenault