Today is the day that users of Windows 2000 and Windows XP SP2 will lose official support unless they upgrade to XP SP3 or Vista/7. In a shocking move though, Microsoft has announced that users of an OEM copy of Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate can downgrade to Windows XP Professional until the year 2020. The downgrade rights would have expired early next year, possibly April 2011, but due to overwhelming usage of Windows XP by businesses, Microsoft decided to extend the rights to 2020. This only affects users of an OEM copy of Winows 7 Pro or Ultimate, that is, ones that had the OS preinstalled on their computer from a retailer. Even still, it is quite a surprising turn of events from Microsoft who originally wanted the downgrade rights to expire six months after the launch of Windows 7 so to see it extended to 2020 is just amazing. Microsoft retracted its six month plan and imposed the eighteen month one which would have expired next April.
With the downgrade rights until 2020, it is highly unlikely any hardware released then would still work with Windows XP but it is somewhat comforting to know you can downgrade for so long.