Microsoft is turning up the heat on those of us still using Office 2003 and Windows XP.
A week and some change from now on April 14th, Microsoft will officially drop mainstream support for both.
Typically, Microsoft offers mainstream support for its products for five years and then scales back to "extended support" for an additional five years. After that, you are welcome to call the Smithsonian and see if they are interested in taking the application off your hands.
What does this mean for businesses and personal users?
Microsoft guarantees free security patches and fixes during those mainstream support years. Afterwards, with extended support, nonsecurity "hot fixes" are only provided to companies who have a service contract. Security fixes and junk mail fixes for Outlook will continue to be provided for free.
Last updated: Apr 7, 2009
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio