BEWARE – The End Of Windows XP Is Near!

At least for those folks still running XP with Service Pack 2 or earlier.

Some of Microsoft’s older operating systems will soon take another step towards the end of their lifecycles.
Businesses using Windows XP will need to upgrade to Service Pack 3 (SP3) of the operating system by July in order to continue receiving support from Microsoft.

Although XP is currently in its extended support phase, which runs until April 2014, users will need to be using a supported service pack to be eligible for this. The cut off for XP SP2 support is 13 July 2010 while support for XP SP1 ended in October 2006.

XP users will need to install SP3 through the Windows Update online service. Those not using XP SP2 will need to install this before downloading SP3.

XP SP3 will be supported for 24 months after the release of any additional service pack or until the end of the extended support phase – available to Software Assurance subscribers – in April 2014.

Microsoft will inform users of the need to upgrade in a number of ways. As well as the Windows Blog, the company is revamping its website to inform customers about the end of support for XP SP2 and prompt them to take action.

When users visit a Microsoft website, the website will detect if they are using XP and direct them to the relevant section if they need to install service packs.

July 2010 will also signal the end of support for Windows 2000 which was first released a decade ago. Meanwhile, support for the release to manufacture version of Vista, will end on 13 April 2010. Users running Vista without any service packs will need to install one by this date with Microsoft suggesting they upgrade to the latest version, SP2.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) is an important update that includes previously released security, performance, and stability updates for Windows XP.

How to get SP3
The recommended (and easiest) way to get SP3 is to turn on Automatic Updates, which will automatically download SP3 when it’s available for your computer. You just need a few clicks to begin the installation and the rest of the process is automatic.

In order to install SP3, you must first have Windows XP Service Pack 1a or Service Pack 2 installed. These are also available when you have Automatic Updates turned on.

Manually installing SP3 using the Microsoft Download Center
If you have problems obtaining the service pack from Windows Update, you can download SP3 as a standalone installation package from the Microsoft Download Center website, and then install SP3 manually. The installation package is intended for IT professionals and developers, but you can still download and install this file.

Finally, if all else fails, you can order a CD from Microsoft containing SP3. For more information, go to the Microsoft website. The cost is only $3.99 per CD for up to a maximum of 4 CD’s.

Not sure what version of XP you have installed?
Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.

If Service Pack 3 is listed in the System section, SP3 is already installed on your computer and you don’t need to do anything until April 2014.

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