From June 30 onwards you'll no longer be able to purchase Windows XP or obtain support for it, right? Well, no. Not if you follow PC Advisor's guide to extending XP.
January 31 of next year is also the last date you'll be able to buy XP on a machine from a 'system builder' - a company that builds no-brand custom PCs from components and purchases Microsoft software from a distributor rather than directly from Microsoft itself.
If you buy an ultra-low-cost PC, which Microsoft describes as a laptop with "limited hardware capabilities" intended for entry-level buyers or people seeking an inexpensive second system, you're in luck. Such laptops, including the popular Asus Eee PC, can be sold with Windows XP until June 2010. The laptops must have small screens and low-powered CPUs to qualify.
How to get support, post-cutoff
Obtaining support for XP after June 30 will be even easier than trying to buy XP after that date.
For starters, you have access to what Microsoft calls 'mainstream support' for XP until April 14, 2009. Mainstream support includes the release of bug fixes and security patches, so you'll still be receiving updates for the operating system.
You can pay Microsoft for help, as well, and the company will also honour all warranty claims until then.
After that date, and until April 8, 2014, Microsoft will offer what it calls 'extended support' for XP. During that time, Microsoft will continue to issue security patches but won't release public bug fixes.
Businesses that signed support contracts with Microsoft will be able to get bug fixes, but no one else will. Paid support will still be available, but warranty claims won't be honoured. Microsoft says Windows XP customers will have to take up such claims, even if they relate to software, with the PC manufacturer at that point.
Whether you can obtain support from your PC's manufacturer may depend on the way in which XP was installed on your system. For example, Dell will support XP on your system as long as Dell installed it, perhaps via the downgrade option or prior to June 30.
But if you bought a Windows Vista PC and then installed XP yourself, Dell won't offer support.
Where to find more details