Microsoft will stop offering Windows XP in retail stores June 30, but at least two major computer manufacturers say school districts, colleges, and universities will be able to buy machines with the older operating system until January 2009, as Windows Vista—released last year—remains unpopular with many consumers.

Windows XP, the seven-year-old predecessor to Vista, continues to be a preferred option for many schools, because it allows them to run applications that don't always work with Vista. Switching to Vista also would force school systems to spend thousands of dollars to update hardware that has proven incompatible with Microsoft's new OS.

But school


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