Windows XP Availability Update

Ben_2 With June 30th just one month away, your business may be feeling pressure to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista. But don't panic if you're not ready. Three of the world's largest PC manufacturers have announced that they will continue support for Windows XP on new PCs when customers exercise their Windows Vista downgrade rights. The best part of the downgrade process is that when you're ready to move to Windows Vista, you have already purchased the license for it. So the upgrade should be "free." And why is Microsoft allowing this? Because machines shipping after a Windows Vista downgrade (hence, with Windows XP) still count as shipped Windows Vista licenses, which allows Microsoft to continue touting how well Vista is selling.

Here's a quick guide to the Windows Vista downgrade process by PC manufacturer for all of the businesses that aren't yet ready for Windows Vista.

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Windows XP SP3, The Final Frontier

Ben The last of the service packs for Windows XP (SP3) was released to manufacturing last month and to the Web on May 6 after a delay to fix compatibility with Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS). SP3 contains the usual rollup of all the fixes and patches along with several (mainly security) enhancements including black hole router detection and network access protection (NAP). Don’t expect any new features or new versions of Internet Explorer or Media Player, however, given that Microsoft has turned its focus to Windows Vista and subsequently "Windows 7."

As with any SP release, the Microsoft support forums were immediately flooded with some irate consumers. The most consistent complaint was of endless reboot cycles on AMD-powered machines. This error was quickly traced back to mistakes made on the part of HP that have still not been resolved. However, the majority of consumers and businesses alike should expect a non-event in upgrading.

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