Microsoft Windows XP enters Extended Support mode this week, but IT managers should be thinking more about the Windows family at the end of the Extended Support road: Windows 2000. eWEEK Labs explains what this means for companies still using the older OS, and why now is a good time to start planning for your next OS upgrade.
Windows XP enters the stage of life known as Extended Support this week, but
IT administrators should have their eye on a Windows OS family near the end of
the Extended Support road: Windows 2000 Server (in all its flavors) and Windows
For many organizations, XP's move to Extended Support won't mean much in the
short term. Microsoft will continue to release free security updates for
the desktop operating system (with the most recent service pack, SP3) through
the usual channels until August 2014. What will change, however, is the
availability of non-security-related hotfixes-from here on out, they will
require the purchase of an Extended Hotfix Support Agreement, as well as payment
of applicable per-fix fees.
During Extended Support, complimentary incident support is no more, but paid
support will still be available via phone or Web. Also, XP customers will
no longer be able to request product design or feature changes.
For many organizations, the continued availability of complimentary security
hotfixes will be enough to keep the aging XP OS viable for a few more years,
allowing companies more time to investigate and weigh the benefits of moving to
Windows 7 once it ships.
Windows 2000 is a much more pressing issue, however: The server and desktop
iterations will leave Extended Support on July 13, 2010, marking the end of security
As Windows 2000 is generally susceptible to the same flaws as Windows XP,
the lack of security patches for the older operating system will be a much more
dire circumstance in need of more immediate attention. Indeed, the most
for April 2009 contained three patches deemed Critical
for Windows 2000 and another two rated Important.
As I was starkly reminded on a recent visit to a local hospital in San
Francisco, many organizations will likely find Windows
2000 still maintains a healthy presence on the desktop or in the data
center. Those companies would do well to soon start budgeting for a 2010
move to a newer Windows iteration (or another operating system altogether),
keeping in mind that such a move will likely mean hardware as well as software
And if such a move is in on the books for Windows 2000 systems, it makes
sense to at the same time consider an upgrade for Windows XP desktops as well,
to ease ongoing support.
In the meantime, IT implementers would do well to use Windows 2000 as a
benchmark for Windows XP in its Extended Support period. Companies that
paid for Hotfix Support Agreements for the older operating system should spend
some time evaluating how Microsoft's support was utilized during this period,
using that information to help guide the purchase decisions for Windows.