Microsoft originally said that new owners of Windows 7 who wanted to downgrade to XP would only have until 2011 to do so, but now the company has changed its mind and extended support for the old operating system until 2020. That's right. Windows XP, an operating system that is already almost 10 years old, will apparently still be relevant for another 10 years.
"We have decided to extend downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional beyond the previously planned end date at Windows 7 SP1," wrote Microsoft in an official blog post. "Going forward, businesses can continue to purchase new PCs and utilize end user downgrade rights to Windows XP or Windows Vista until they are ready to use Windows 7."
Because users did not seem to be overly outraged about Windows 7 the way everyone was about Vista, it seemed perfectly fine to cut off the remaining life of Windows XP without too much haste. And for the majority of individual computer owners, that probably wouldn't have been a problem.
However, what is a problem is that 74% of businesses still use Windows XP, and for a lot of them, the cost of upgrading all of their machines to Windows 7 is not financially tenable. Thus, companies risk having old computers with Windows XP and new computers with Windows 7 which would fragment their network and make it impossible to streamline systems.
It is as a result of that statistic that Microsoft will now continue to allow downgrades to Windows XP for people who purchase Windows 7 Professional through 2015, and through 2020 for people who purchase Windows 7 Ultimate, according to a report from Computerworld.
However, as of yesterday, Microsoft ended all support for Windows XP SP2, so anyone who still wants to be covered by Microsoft support will at least have to move to XP's Service Pack 3.