Just days after Microsoft warned Windows 7 users of an impending shutdown of the free release candidate, the company reminded customers running Windows 2000, XP and Vista of approaching support deadlines for those editions.

The closest cutoff is April 13, when Microsoft will drop support for Vista RTM (release to manufacturing), the term used for the build the company launched at retail in January 2007. After that date -- it is also April's Patch Tuesday -- Microsoft will not provide security updates for Vista RTM, said Jerry Bryant, a senior manager with the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC).

Instead, users should upgrade to Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), or preferably, Vista SP2, Bryant said. Microsoft shipped SP1 and SP2 in March 2008 and May 2009, respectively.

Microsoft's policy is to support a Windows RTM build for at least 24 months after the release of a first service pack, and to support any service pack for the same length of time when it's superseded by a follow-up.

Both Windows 2000 and Windows XP face support deadlines of July 13, 2010, Bryant added in an entry last week to the MSRC blog.

Full story: Computerworld