Some of Microsoft's older operating systems will soon take another step towards the end of their lifecycles.

Businesses using Windows XP will need to upgrade to Service Pack 3 (SP3) of the operating system by July in order to continue receiving support from Microsoft.

Although XP is currently in its extended support phase, which runs until April 2014, users will need to be using a supported service pack to be eligible for this. The cut off for XP SP2 support is 13 July 2010 while support for XP SP1 ended in October 2006.

XP users will need to install SP3 through the Windows Update online service. Those not using XP SP2 will need to install this before downloading SP3.

XP SP3 will be supported for 24 months after the release of any additional service pack or until the end of the extended support phase - available to Software Assurance subscribers - in April 2014.

Full story: