After Oct. 22, you will no longer be able to buy Windows XP on a new computer. This should be no surprise to anyone since Microsoft has been shouting this from the rooftops for years. But, of course, a lot of you are in denial. So it's time to bite the bullet and figure out what you're going to do about it.
For now, the easy solution is to simply ignore the problem. Your machines all run Windows XP and you don't intend to change. After all, change is hard, new things are scary, and if you close your eyes really tightly, maybe you can pretend that nothing is happening. Unfortunately, change is happening regardless of what you might wish for.
This means that any new machine you buy after Oct. 22 will come with Windows 7. You're going to have to learn to support a whole new operating system, and you're not sure that you want to do this. After all, Windows XP is all warm and comfortable, and you wish they'd just leave you alone. Now, at least, there's a way you can.
Prowess Corp. has started making SmartMigrate, a simplified version of its SmartDeploy product. With SmartMigrate, you get a wizard-based application that will gather your existing Windows XP environment onto a virtual hard disk and preserve it for use with Windows 7. You can either perform an in-place upgrade of Windows XP to Windows 7, and then use the Windows VPC feature to run XP in a virtual environment, or you can move the VHD to a new Windows 7 machine and run it there.
Normally this would be a complicated process that would be beyond the skill level of all the more experienced ITstaff, but SmartMigrate handles everything with a wizard. If you're an individual, the migration wizard is free. SmartDeploy is the enterprise version of the software and it's not free, but it is designed for large-scale deployments.
Unfortunately, there's a problem with running Windows XP in a virtual environment under Windows 7-you're still running Windows XP. You still have to do all of the updates and management that you'd have to do with XP, along with the updates you have to do with Windows 7, which effectively doubles your workload. Worse, when Windows XP support ends, it will end for your virtual version as well, and in the meantime you'll have all of the security issues you moved to Windows 7 to avoid.