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Get Ready For Paid Windows XP Support

Still using an older version of Windows or Office? You might want to start planning now for alternative support options, or upgrade to a newer version. That's because your free support is about to expire.

On April 14 -- that's tomorrow -- Microsoft ends mainstream support for Office 2003, Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, and Exchange Server 2003.

That means henceforth, you'll need to pay for help (generally on a per-incident or a per-hour basis). Extended support (which mainly includes free ongoing security patches) will run until August 14, 2014. After that, like Windows 95, those apps will be relegated to the cornfield, and no support of any kind will be provided.

Other upcoming support changes:

  • Windows Server 2003 SP1 retires tomorrow as well, so you should upgrade to SP2.
  • Office 2000 extended support ends July 14. Next stop: Cornfield.
  • Windows 2000 Server extended support ends Jul 13, 2010. Cornfield.
  • Office 2007 mainstream support ends April 10, 2010, at which time extended support kicks in.
  • Windows Vista mainstream support ends April 10, 2012. Then, extended support.
What's your take on these "sunset" policies? Do you rely on Microsoft for support or tend to troubleshoot most problems yourself?

As we know from a previous Business Hacks poll, most of you seek answers online. That's why we're fans of sites like FixYa, where fellow users will help you solve PC problems. And don't miss Microsoft's own Fix Its, which can automatically fix problems for you. [via The Register]

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