If you’re determined to have a last fling with a factory-installed version of Windows XP on a new PC, place your order soon. Come the end of September 2010 Dell will no longer take orders for machines loaded with the nine-year-old operating system. XP fans will still have ways to get the operating system on new machines, but not as easily.
The news shouldn’t come as a surprise to Windows shops, though it could be a jarring dose of reality for organizations that have been postponing the inevitable transition from XP, be it to Windows Vista (it could happen), Windows 7, or something else entirely. Notably, Microsoft has improved the Windows XP Mode in Windows 7, which enables the platform to run XP-centric software.
“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,” wrote a Dell spokesperson in the company’s corporate blog. “This means that we will stop offering XP as an option for customers starting this month in preparation for next month’s deadline.”
Also important: If you get your order in for an XP machine by the deadline, Dell will offer driver support only through December 2012. Microsoft ceased support for Windows XP SP2 last June (SP3 has been around for two-plus years) and plans to terminate Windows XP support on April 8, 2014.
New installations of Windows XP won’t disappear entirely come Oct. 22, though. Dell notes that organizations that aren’t ready to move to Windows 7 will be able to install Windows on machines on-site or take advantage of the company’s CFI (Custom Factory Integration) service, applicable to select Dell machines.
Additionally, users will have until 2014 (not 2020) to purchase Windows 7 and then downgrade to Windows XP..