Microsoft is recommending that all customers still running Windows XP SP1 immediately upgrade to Windows XP SP2, as the company's support for SP1 ends next week.
The Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy for Windows XP SP1 ends Tuesday according to the company's Web site. (http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifean19)
Microsoft initially planned to end support for Windows XP SP1 on Sept. 17, 2006, two years after Windows XP SP2 was released. However, earlier this year, Microsoft shifted the final support date for XP SP1 to Oct. 10.
Microsoft typically provides 12 months of support for service packs, but will extend that support period for products it thinks customers need extra help and time to install.
For typical consumer products, Microsoft provides five years of mainstream support. Business customers and developers typically get 10 years of support -- five of mainstream support and five of what is called "extended" support.
Microsoft expects to release the next major upgrade to the Windows client OS, Windows Vista, to business customers next month, and to consumers in January 2007. Though the release has been delayed several times, the general consensus among analysts is that Microsoft will hit its latest release target for Vista.