Microsoft this week released the Windows XP End Of Support Countdown Gadget. You can grab the 50KB bugger from the Microsoft Download Center.

The gadget shows the Windows XP logo, the words "End of Support," and the number of days left (currently over 1,000) before XP finally dies. If you make the gadget bigger, the text "Get guidance and free tools to help you migrate to Windows 7" will appear, along with a button that tells you to visit the Springboard Series for Windows 7 website. Here's the gadget's official description:

Looking to get off Windows XP? Use this handy gadget to count down the number of days until Windows XP End of Support (EOS) in 2014.

The kicker is that the gadget doesn't work on Windows XP. Since gadgets are only available as of XP's successor, it can only be installed on Windows Vista and Windows 7. That means if you're using the XP death counter, so to speak, you have to have already ditched the decade-old operating system. Clearly someone at Microsoft didn't think this through very well, or just didn't care enough to release something for XP.

On April 14, 2009, Microsoft retired Mainstream Support for XP, and with it, support for IE6. The company is not planning to retire Extended Support for the operating system until April 8, 2014. If the company ends up releasing XP SP4 (highly unlikely), it will retire support for SP3 (released in April 2008) two years later, or in April 2014, whichever comes first. In short, Windows XP will continue to be officially supported by Microsoft for about three more years. Despite the support options, Redmond still wants XP and IE6 to die.