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50 free tools to extend your Windows XP PC

Extend XP today, for free

While Microsoft is keen for us to move to Windows Vista, we've got other ideas. With a brand-new service pack and a slew of useful add-ons XP works better than ever. Here are 50 tools that can extend XP's useful working life still further.

Support goes on

Although the sales lifecycle starts to wind down on 30 June, you can keep on using XP for as long as you want to. You might want to run XP until the next version of Windows, currently called 'Windows 7', is launched – it's expected in 2010. Or you might want to give another OS a little more time to mature. Perhaps you think that Ubuntu Linux is just a couple of versions away from real usability.

Either way, time is on your side. There won't be any changes in XP support until 14 April 2009, when XP SP2 moves from mainstream support to extended support. The security fixes provided under extended support should keep you going safely until 8 April 2014, or until Windows 7 actually ships, whichever comes first.

The problem is this: there's support and then there's support. The last time Microsoft ended mainstream support for a version of Windows was in June 2005, when Windows 2000 was the victim. By the end of 2006, major software vendors had also ended their support for the OS. New products didn't support Windows 2000 and upgrades of existing Windows 2000 products to new versions weren't available.

This lack of upgrades to run on defunct OSes is a natural result of market forces. Application software makers minimise their costs by supporting their products on as few OS versions as is economically possible. When an OS's percentage of the installed base – and its contribution to the bottom line – falls to a certain level, the vendor will cut support. Any complaints will be deflected by pointing the finger at Microsoft.

XP is far more widely used than Windows 2000, and it will probably be supported by application vendors for longer as a result. But if you really want to stay with XP, you should be prepared to stay with your current apps as well. There may not be any upgrades.

NEXT PAGE: Market pressure > >

  1. 50 tools to help extend Windows XP
  2. Vista's failure to launch
  3. XP: Trick or tweak?
  4. XP-alidocious!
  5. Windows XP – your rights
  6. Windows XP – Support goes on
  7. Market pressure
  8. The save XP campaign
  9. How to downgrade to XP

50 free Windows XP tools

  1. Office optimising tools for XP
  2. Five essential XP add-ons
  3. XP browser boosters
  4. Five essential XP web-browser add-ons
  5. Extra media muscle for XP
  6. Five media boosters for XP

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