Windows XP gets another stay of execution
Microsoft instructed retailers to stop selling copies of the operating system to consumers this summer. But there's a loophole that lets customers purchasing new computers running certain versions of Windows Vista request a free downgrade to Windows XP. That option was set to expire on January 31st, 2009. Now Microsoft has extended that date through July 31st, 2009.
That means you may not be able to pick up a standalone copy of Windows XP from your local computer store, but you will be able to get Windows XP with a new computer until the middle of next year. Unless, of course, you pick up a low cost ultraportable machine like the Asus Eee PC, Dell Inspiron Mini, or Acer Aspire One. Microsoft has made an exception for that class of laptop and will support Windows XP through 2010.
For anyone keeping track, the operating system was first introduced in late 2001. It's already nearly 7 years old, and at this rate, you may still be using it in another 2 or 3 years. Which is to say that either this is the best operating system Microsoft has ever produced, or Windows Vista is really just that bad.