updated 10:50 am EDT, Thu September 9, 2010
End of line for new XP installs
Dell has confirmed that it's following Microsoft guidelines and will no longer be shipping any PCs with Windows XP Professional or XP Home after October 22, 2010. According to Dell, it will stop offering XP as a OEM or downgrade option on its PCs beginning this month in preparation for the termination of all consumer licensing agreements for XP by Microsoft. In its place, Dell is advising customers who need to use XP for any reason to run XP Mode in Windows 7 Professional if required.
This news follows Microsoft's formal announcement back in 2008 that it would begin phasing Windows XP. Microsoft's Windows customer support blog has also advised customers that Windows XP SP2 support officially ended on July 13, 2010; however, support for Windows XP SP3 will continue through to April 2014. Corporate enterprises will continue to hold licensing permission to downgrade through the product cycle of Windows 7, a guarantee Microsoft has been obligated to use for longer than expected due to the reluctance to adopt first Vista and later Windows 7.
XP has been Microsoft's longest-lived OS due to hesitation triggered by Vista as a whole. Dell was one of the most eager to please Microsoft and started offering Vista systems almost immediately in January 2007, but it soon backtracked and offered an XP downgrade almost immediately. It also resumed shipping some systems with XP by default after both home and pro buyers began actively avoiding Vista due to perceived and real problems with compatibility and performance.