Microsoft updates Windows XP Pro anti-piracy tool

Microsoft is starting to roll out a new version of its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) software for Windows XP Pro.

The new version of WGA will work much like the anti-piracy software implemented in Windows Vista. Your PC will not be immediately disabled if it fails the WGA check. Rather when you login you’ll see a black desktop background instead of your background of choice. You can change the background, but every 60 minutes it will reset itself to black.

There will also be a warning notice that you cannot make go away unless you enter a valid Windows license key.

XP Service Pack 3 Update

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) has been Released to Manufacturing (RTM) today, however it is on track for public release on April 29, 2008.

From the release schedule, SP3 is due for release to OEMs, Technet, Connect and MSDN users receiving it a week earlier on April 21, and additional languages released on May 5.

Windows XP to Retire June 30, 2008

Microsoft has decided to retire support for Windows XP on June 30, 2008. This comes after official support for Windows XP Service Pack 1 was dropped on January 1, 2008. Extended support is set to end in December 2013.

To retire official support means that sales of OEM, retail box, and shrink wrapped editions are to be prohibited. System builders will be prohibited to distributwe Windows XP after December 31, 2008. This is in a move to urge users to migrate to Windows Vista.

Many IT Professionals are petitioning against the life cycle, as they do not believe Vista is an alternative to security and stability. InfoWorld’s petition asking Microsoft not to discontinue Windows XP after June 30 has more than 65,000 signatures collected since Jan. 14.

In 2006, Microsoft stated that support for Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Media Center Edition would be dropped on December 31, 2006. The set date was scheduled before Windows Vista was ever released for retail or OEM sales.  Microsoft rebuked this decision after much revolting criticism.

With much protests against the retirement date, the fate for official support for Windows XP is in the hands of Microsoft reguardless.