Microsoft has officially extended the "shelf life" of Windows XP by 5 months due to "customer demand".

Instead of stopping sales of the operating system on 30 January 2008, the period has been extended to 30 June 2008.

These dates are for retailer and manufacturers, independent firms can continue to offer it as an option until 30 January 2009 while the XP Starter Edition will be available until 30 June 2010.

Mike Nash, Microsoft's Windows product manager, said: "Maybe we were a little ambitious to think that we would need to make Windows XP available for only a year after the release of Windows Vista".

Microsoft's problems with Vista adoption rates were highlighted recently when it was revealed that a scheme that lets Vista Business and Ultimate Edition users "downgrade" to XP on request was proving popular.

Despite widespread reports and perception from both the media and the public about the problems with Vista, Microsoft insist it's actually on track to become the fastest selling OS in history.

More than 60 million copies of the system have been sold to date.