Will I Be Able to Activate XP after 2014?

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Snorg wants to keep using XP, and asked the Answer Line forum if Microsoft will activate new installations after the company stops supporting the operating system in 2014.

As long as you're running a particular version of Windows, there's a possibility that you'll eventually have to reinstall it. And that means you'll have to reactivate it--a job that requires Microsoft's cooperation.

That's a serious concern considering how much Microsoft wishes that Windows XP would just go away. They have promised to stop supporting the operating system in April of 2014.

But Microsoft has assured me that they will continue to activate XP. Their exact words: "The end of Windows XP support will not affect activation, but rather security updates and phone/online technical support."

The end of technical support isn't a big deal. How many people do you know who call Microsoft when Windows isn't working? The end of security updates is of some concern, but as I argued in When XP is Discontinued, the active malware threats of 2014 will probably not be targeting an old and out-of-date operating system.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend that XP diehards, assuming they can afford it, upgrade to Windows 7 this year. And specifically that they go for Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate Editions. Why? Because these editions support XP Mode--XP running in a virtual machine. I haven't seen any definitive statement that Windows 8 will offer that.

Read the original forum discussion.

Note: I altered this post on March 9, correcting an error in the name of Windows 7 editions. My thanks to Bob for pointing out my error.

Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema. Email your tech questions to him at answer@pcworld.com, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum. Follow Lincoln on Twitter, or subscribe to the Answer Line newsletter, e-mailed weekly.

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