Time running out for Windows XP

Microsoft will force PC makers to stop selling machines running Windows XP by the end of this year, despite compatibility and performance issues with the new Vista operating system.

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Microsoft will force PC makers to stop selling machines running Windows XP by the end of this year, despite compatibility and performance issues with the new Vista operating system.

Dell has decided to continue offering XP on business systems through the summer through a feature called "Customise with Windows XP", the company said.

But the clock is ticking, and PC makers will be obliged to stop selling machines running XP by the end of the year. Dell said its move reflected strong demand for XP machines, especially for smaller businesses, which often buy systems in small numbers from manufacturers.

"Dell recognises the needs of small business customers and understands that more time is needed to transition to a new operating system," said Tom West, director of small business marketing at Dell, on the company's blog. "The plan is to continue offering Windows XP on select Dimension and Inspiron systems until later this summer."

At the end of this year, however, PC makers’ contracts with Microsoft will no longer give them the option of selling XP-powered machines. This is despite problems that have surfaced with Vista. Users have complained that Vista's start-up, shutdown and application loading times are far too long compared with Windows XP.

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