As you may or may not already know, Microsoft has ended support and updates for three of their older operating systems effective today, July 13th, 2010. These older operating systems include: Windows 2000 Server (all versions), Windows 2000 Professional (all versions) and Windows XP (all versions with Service Pack 2 or older.)
What does this mean? Well, Microsoft will no longer provide updates for these operating systems. Microsoft updates can include bug fixes, security updates, and feature enhancements. More importantly, when Microsoft retires support, most third-party software and hardware companies also follow suit, meaning specialized software and older hardware devices may need updating as well. In some circumstances, unsupported software can continue to operate for many years without any major issues. But in most cases, upgrades (hardware and software) must be done in order to ensure ongoing operability. Most businesses should have a technology refresh plan which cycles every 36-48 months, which helps to take these support cycles into account. This particular upgrade cycle for Microsoft hits after a lackluster roll out of their Vista Operating System, and with many businesses still using Windows XP.
It is strongly recommended that businesses formulate a plan to move to Windows 7 sooner rather than later. — Robert Benjamin, Managed Services Director, Networks Unlimited.