So, What does that mean?
Earlier in the week, my news article mentioned that Microsoft would be ending support for Microsoft XP SP2 in July 2010. Before the day was over, my inbox was stuffed with emails from readers worried about what would happen to their computer: Will my computer stop working? Will I continue receive security updates? Should I upgrade to Windows XP SP3? What does "end all public support" truly mean?
When Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP Service Pack 2 (due to lose public support in July, 2010) they will not release any additional security updates, hotfixes or patches for it. This means that if a security flaw is reported to Microsoft regarding Windows XP SP2, they will no longer fix the flaw, except for a few major enterprises that have agreements with Microsoft. However, Microsoft will be supporting Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) until April 2014, so it is recommended that if you are currently running Windows XP SP2 that you upgrade to SP3; The update is available from Microsoft for free.
If you decide not to upgrade to SP3, your computer will continue to function as normal, except that Microsoft will not release any updates to SP2 and you will be unable to receive assisted support (though you will be able to receive paid support at a per-incident fee). The existing support website for Windows XP SP2 on the Microsoft Knowledgebase will continue to be available. The Knowledgebase contains troubleshooting guides, past downloads and updates & configuration information for anyone who may need self-help.
On April 8, 2014, all Windows XP support, including Windows XP SP2 and SP3 will end. This means that past that date in 2014, Microsoft in essence has "discontinued" Windows XP and will not release any security updates, hotfixes or patches for it ever again.
Why is Microsoft ending support for Windows XP SP2? After a certain period after releasing a product, most software companies "discontinue support" so that they can focus on providing security updates and patches to their newer products. In this case, Microsoft will be ending support for Windows XP SP2 so that they can focus on providing support for Windows Vista and Windows 7.