Although XP is now officially off sale in retail, customers can still get their hands on the operating system by buying a Vista machine that comes with an XP downgrade option. That lifeline was originally intended to be withdrawn on January 31 next year, but apparently Microsoft has decided to move the downgrade cut-off date a full six months to July 31 - sending some rather confusing signals about Windows Vista.

With Microsoft's upcoming operating system rumored to be launching around that time, it appears the goal is to transition businesses over to Windows 7 while bypassing Vista altogether. Microsoft has been desperately to kill off Windows XP with hopes of boosting Vista sales, but it seems the aging system just won't go away.