New Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Images are currently available for download free of charge from Microsoft.

The company is offering XP SP3 and Vista SP1 virtualized, packaged as Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) files, that can be used with Microsoft’s virtualization solutions.

Each XP and Vista copy brings to the table a different version of Internet Explorer. The images are designed for web devs that are building sites and need to test their projects for compatibility with multiple IE versions.

“After a little delay, the Internet Explorer App Compat Testing VHDs are now available for download on the Microsoft Download Center. Like the previous set of images, these ones are time-bombed for 90 days and will expire on January 11th, 2011,” revealed Microsoft’s Pete LePage. More »

Microsoft will release patches for no less than 34 security vulnerabilities in a range of its products next week. The Redmond company revealed that it plans to introduce no less than 14 security bulletins as a part of its normal patch cycle, with the June security bulletin release scheduled for Tuesday, August 10. The upcoming availability of the massive number of security bulletins will mark a new record for the Redmond company, as the software giant has never released 14 patch packages in a single month before.

“For those who keep track of such things, this will be the most bulletins we have ever released in a month; we have released 13 bulletins on a couple of occasions. However, in total CVE count, this release ties with June 2010, so there’s no new record there,” revealed Angela Gunn, Security Response Communications Manager. More »

This milestone in the product lifecycle of XP has generated a range of questions, some easier to answer than others. Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions along with answers, some right from Microsoft. Hopefully, the FAQ will be sufficient to provide guidance for customers that need to make the transition from XP SP2 to more recent releases of Windows.

1. How will XP SP2 customers be impacted by end of support for the service pack?

Microsoft software products evolve constantly, with major products receiving upgrades dubbed service packs. In the case of XP SP2, the upgrade was indeed massive, with some company employees noting that Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista’s successor could easily have been considered an entirely new Windows release. The software giant only offers support for Service Packs for 12 to 24 months after a new release. This period varies, and is connected with the product family. In the specific case of XP SP2, July 13th, 2010 will mark two years since the release of Service Pack 3. More »

Microsoft continues to offer free copies of its Windows operating systems, a “tradition” that the company started back in 2006 after the release of Internet Explorer 7. The software giant is attempting to compensate for the shortcomings of the Windows design in older releases of its platforms, in which a single version of Internet Explorer can be installed at a time. This limitation makes it difficult for developers building websites to test their code in different IE versions on Windows Vista and Windows XP.

This is where the Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image comes in. This download offers free, virtualized copies of XP and Vista, each with different versions of Internet Explorer. There are no less than five downloads available, all free of charge.

The VPC Hard Disk Images are time bombed, and only allow usage for a limited period of time. However, for the past few years, Microsoft has updated the Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image downloads without fault, just ahead of their expiration date. More »

July 13, 2010 will bring with it the death of Windows XP Service Pack 2, a landmark upgrade in the history of Windows, of a magnitude that will probably never be reached again by any service pack. Essentially, when Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) on April 21, 2008, it also signed the death sentence for its predecessor.

Per the Windows lifecycle, all service packs reach end of support within 12 or 24 months after a new service pack is offered. This, however, has no bearing on the overall support commitment for XP. This means that customers currently running Windows XP will be able to continue doing so provided that they upgrade to the latest service pack, revealed Eric Ligman, Global Partner Experience Lead Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group.

“The terms of the Service Pack Support policy do not impact the Mainstream Support phase or Extended Support phase dates for Windows XP as a product. Windows XP transitioned from the Mainstream Support phase to the Extended Support phase on April 14, 2009,” Ligman said. “During the Extended Support phase for Windows XP (April 14, 2009 – April 8, 2014), Microsoft will continue to provide paid support and security updates at no additional charge. More »