Last week I wrote a story about how all the discussion leading up to the official end of support for Windows XP in April 2014 reminded me a lot of the final months of 1999 as the year 2000 approached.

That story, thanks to being featured in last weeks PC Pitstop newsletter, has created quite a discussion over the last few days.

This post has come about because of one of the comments on that story:

What I most want to know is, will Microsoft also be stopping the auto validation system for when I have a full cleanup and want to reinstall from my fully bought and paid-for retail version of XP SP2 ?

A reply to that comment asked a similar question:

This is an excellent point. It didn’t even occur to me that MS might yank the plug on re-installation, although it would be great if someone could speak authoritatively to this point. I see is nothing on MS’s lifecycle page ( concerning perpetual re-installation.

That got me wondering and I think it is a valid question so I contacted a rep at Microsoft and posed it to the Windows team.

This is the reply I got back from a Microsoft spokesperson:

After XP End Of Support, Windows XP will remain on MSDN and TechNet for customers who still need to activate and re-activate XP (there aren’t new retail copies). We don’t have a date to share around when activation will be shut off, but it will be on for the foreseeable future.

Keep in mind that Windows XP was the first version of Windows that required activation within 30 days of installation in order to be able to continue using the OS. That means this is the first time an OS requiring activation will hit the end of official support. It is understandable that it would be a concern for those who simply do not want to move off Windows XP for whatever reason.

To give you an example of a typical time frame used for continued online server support lets look at Electronic Arts. When they release an updated version of Madden or most of their other games the TOS only guarantees on-line support for that title for two years after release.  That does not mean it cuts off at two years – it just means that it is not guaranteed after that point.

Now I know that is not a firm answer as to when the ability to activate Windows XP after a fresh install will be turned off however, we at least know it is not going to be shut off on the same date that official support ends in April 2014.

How long would you like to see the Windows XP activation servers stay online after support ends in April 2014?