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Microsoft Businesses Operating Systems Software Windows IT

Microsoft to Allow PC Makers to Downgrade to XP 311

Posted by Zonk
from the going-back-in-time dept.
mytrip pointed out a News.com story about a new Microsoft program to allow PC makers to downgrade from Vista to XP if they so choose. They're still pushing the new version of Windows very hard, but the option now exists for PC resellers to offer the now venerable OS. This is especially interesting as the article points out that OEM licenses for XP officially run out at the end of January. "Hewlett-Packard also started a program in August for many of its business models. 'For business desktops, workstations and select business notebooks and tablet PCs, customers can configure their systems to include the XP Pro restore disc for little or no charge,' HP spokeswoman Tiffany Smith said in an e-mail. She said it was too soon to gauge how high customer interest has been. 'Since we've only been offering (it) for about a month, we don't really have anything to share on demand.' A Microsoft representative confirmed there were some changes made over the summer to the options computer makers have with respect to XP, but the representative was not immediately able to elaborate on those changes."
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Microsoft to Allow PC Makers to Downgrade to XP

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  • by Tatarize (682683) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:34PM (#20705037) Homepage
    Users are permitted to upgrade from Vista to XP.

    See, fixed.
    • by Tribbin (565963)
      They love to self-declare what is and is not good for the customer. Remember 'Microsoft Works'?
    • by cloricus (691063)
      I found out yesterday you can no longer buy office 2k3 and must buy 2k7.

      I hope Microsoft also works out this is a huge issue and allows business customers to not be forced to down grade to a confusing bloated office application.
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Tatarize (682683)
        Yeah, sadly 2k3 and 2k7 are pretty much exactly the same, save 2k7 has more bloat. OOo all the way.
  • Downgrade? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tribbin (565963) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:35PM (#20705051) Homepage
    Why do they insist on calling it a downgrade?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nitroadict (1005509)
      This is further proof, if most did not suspect or pondered, imo, that Vista was just released to be released (see: rushed out) due to complications in getting whatever was originally supposed to what the next OS,which "7" is supposed to be: something new, something improved (one hopes :cross fingers:). However, I've stopped bitching at Vista and got a dual-boot of Xp/Ubuntu, so I apologize for getting mildly redundant there... I will probably eat my words when the 2nd service pack comes out, as I'm sure v
      • Re:Downgrade? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jerry (6400) on Friday September 21, 2007 @06:03PM (#20705435)
        the next OS,which "7" is supposed to be: something new, something improved (one hopes :cross fingers:).


        When driving down a hiway at night Deer are sometimes caught in your headlights. They stand, transfixed, as you approach. You have to honk your horn and slow down to give them a chance to get out of their trance and leave the road.

        So is it with some folks who, when MS releases PR memos about vaporware, fix their vision on this "future" OS, freezing themselves out of any current improvements. Just what MS wants.

        • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Friday September 21, 2007 @06:34PM (#20705811)
          I thought this was a joke and then looked it up and it's actually true: The post-Vista version of Windows in development has been dubbed "Windows 7 [osnews.com]. So it's really true -- the Windows OS is finally catching up to that revolutionary MacOS from 1991, System 7 [wikipedia.org]. Windows users will finally be able to take advantage of such innovations as QuickDraw and Balloon Help [wikipedia.org] Congratulations Microsoft!!
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by suv4x4 (956391)
          So is it with some folks who, when MS releases PR memos about vaporware, fix their vision on this "future" OS, freezing themselves out of any current improvements. Just what MS wants.

          I like your analog, but I think the reaction you see is more likely because people prefer to stick to XP until something better than XP and Vista comes along (hopefully 7).

          The only thing that could impress those people, would be faster release of XP SP3, since the sheer amount of patches required after reinstall is incredible.

          I
          • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) on Friday September 21, 2007 @07:35PM (#20706441) Homepage
            Windows 7 will be the product that decides the future of Microsoft. They simply can't afford two crappy releases in a row.

            As opposed to how many in the past?
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by suv4x4 (956391)
              As opposed to how many in the past?

              One: ME. But ME was the best time to release a crappy Windows, if I could so say.

              The prosumers and professionals have moved to Windows 2000 which was a great OS, plenty of people kept their Windows 98 which also performed very adequately for the hardware and software we used at those times.

              ME was a blunder, but there was 98 and 2000 to make it subtle and make it easy for Microsoft to swipe it under the rug and forget about it.

              With Vista it's completely different story. Vis
              • by OakDragon (885217)

                As opposed to how many in the past?

                One: ME. But ME was the best time to release a crappy Windows, if I could so say.

                Well, there's also Microsoft Bob [wikipedia.org].

      • They should, while they are at, publicly admit the existence (and perhaps promote) Windows Fundamentals For Legacy PC (essentially XP only it uses considerably less ram and resources).

        They admit the existence [microsoft.com] openly, although it is only for their dwindling number of SA customers.

        I ordered a Dell notebook recently with XP Home - cut a few $$ off the price since Dell ain't shipping with Ubuntu in my country (yet). XP is now confined to a 20GB partition for use on "foreign jobs".

        One thing I noticed is that after removing all the crapware, XP bells & whistles and tweaked the services [blackviper.com] (including the ream of services and process that make up the Intel PRO wireless bloat) I had a lean an

    • Re:Downgrade? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ant P. (974313) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:59PM (#20705381) Homepage
      Same reason they use words like "Genuine Advantage", or "doubleplusungood".
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Because the version number is lower, if there had been one (ok so it's 5.x something if you check)? No, the latest version isn't always the greatest one so if say Ubuntu Gutsy give you problems you'd downgrade from Ubuntu 7.10 to Ubuntu 7.04. It's only a very tired and old slashdotism to mock Microsoft over what's perfectly sensible use of the word.
    • Heh, exactly. When going back to an older, more stable, less bloated version of something, I prefer to call it "retrograding" (sounds a lot nicer besides more accurate ;)
  • Downgrade? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:36PM (#20705073) Journal
    I'll downgrade to XP in the same way I'll "downgrade" to a first-class airline ticket or a supersized meal.

    On the other hand though, it is Microsoft making a correct move by giving consumers what they actually want while keeping the marketing in line with their "forward thinking."
    • Re:Downgrade? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rucs_hack (784150) on Friday September 21, 2007 @06:10PM (#20705545)
      The problem is that Vista isn't being seen as a useful upgrade by microsofts biggest customer, the business world. They don't want it.

      In a few years they will, just like they avoided XP till it had been around for a while. Its not that they don't like it, they just don't feel they can rely on it yet.
      A new OS is a risk, even if it comes from the major player in the OS world. Yup, people here may not like it, but windows is the standard bearer, Linux is still a minority everywhere but serverspace.

      Home users get the fallout from this. The simple fact is that vista would be a big improvement for most home users who are in the 'don't care, so long as my pc works' class. People who don't want it are usually reacting to the negative press and not realising that most of this doesn't really apply to them, vista will do everything they want, since what they want is a pc that will browse the web and play games. XP does this too, but the security model in XP is a disaster, Vista at least improves on it a bit. Linux fans may be angered by this, doesn't stop it being true.

      I don't want vista either, I'd rather stick with XP, but I'll be buying it next year, several copies in fact. So will almost everyone on slashdot, unless they're really linux only bods. Hardly anyone falls into that group at the moment. I like my games, and Linux just doesn't do that well.
      • Re:Downgrade? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Friday September 21, 2007 @06:46PM (#20705929) Journal
        I like my games, and Linux just doesn't do that well.

        I'd be careful on Vista as well, then. My personal addiction has been World of Warcraft for some time, and when I upgraded to Vista on my home system, my frame-rates tanked. My system is not top of the line, nor close even. But it was able to run WoW on OK graphics settings, and get playable frame-rates anywhere but the worst of places, while I was running XP. After a few months of dealing with the performance hit, I downgraded to XP. My frame-rates are back to reasonable, at higher graphics settings than I had been using in Vista (which I had lowered to make the game playable) and higher frame-rates.
        Now, this probably has more to do with the drivers for my graphics card (6600GT) than the OS itself, but it is an issue which will keep me from upgrading.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sjames (1099)

          Now, this probably has more to do with the drivers for my graphics card (6600GT) than the OS itself, but it is an issue which will keep me from upgrading.

          I'd say they're closely related. The driver is the most direct problem, but the crazy new requirements Vista puts on drivers to make sure nobody makes fair use of any IPee is a likely reason for the new driver problems.

          Fundamentally, Vista WILL steal cycles from your game to run DRM threads at a higher priority. MS has gon way out of their way to ass

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by calebt3 (1098475)
        I will most likely not buy Vista, even though I am not a Linux-only bod. Economics and (some) respect for the law play pretty big roles in my choice of OS.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Wowsers (1151731)

        The simple fact is that vista would be a big improvement for most home users who are in the 'don't care, so long as my pc works' class.

        After playing around with Vista on a friends new highly spec'd machine, I would say most home users are in the 'don't care it runs slow' class. They don't know how fast their new machines could be running (they can't/don't compare a similar machine running something like XP or Linux), Vista's turned their high spec machine into something resembled to running through tar.

      • Not quite... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Friday September 21, 2007 @07:30PM (#20706405) Homepage
        Business users can see that Vista will:

        a) Cost them millions.

        b) Most likely cause a lot of incompatibility problems.

        c) Not increase their productivity one bit even when they finally have it all working.

        It's a lose-lose proposition for them.
    • I'll downgrade to XP in the same way I'll "downgrade" to a first-class airline ticket or a supersized meal.
      Not to pointlessly pick at your analogy, but upgrading to Vista is more like upgrading to a supersized meal. It's bigger, makes you (or at least your computer) more bloated, it's more expensive, and it builds unhealthy habits (in Vista's case, continuing the MS monopoly). :)
  • buggy! (Score:4, Funny)

    by grumpyman (849537) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:39PM (#20705125)
    that OEM licenses for XP officially run out at the end of January.


    See, I know MS develops buggy code. Even their license generator stop working!

  • by canuck57 (662392) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:44PM (#20705205)

    I understand the plight. After setting up Vista for the first time the other night I could not believe the amount of GUI changes in Vista. Especially when it came up on a cable modem PPPoE. Took me an hour to figure it out, it though we had a DSL dial up. Don't look for properties any more in the OS, they are now calling it "Settings" and is where the help used to be on many screens.

    People would have less learning UI if they loaded Fedora 7 or RHat.

    Sure glad I bought my last PC when I did. Still had XP on it with a promise of a free upgrade. Have the new disks. Just never applied the upgrade. Will not be applying any time soon either.

    • My personal rule of thumb for dealing with the Vista GUI has been, expect to have to dig through one more layer than normal to get anything done. If you haven't yet, try changing folder permissions in Vista. I have a bad habit of doing the following:
      Open Properties, go to security tab, click edit, click allow on the UAC pop-up, try to make a change and realize that the permission is inherited, close the edit box, click advanced, click allow on the UAC pop-up, uncheck inherit, click copy, close the advance
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mex (191941)
      Do me a favor. When your friend inevitably calls you up for help with his new Vista OS, tell him you can't help him because you don't know this new OS, and have him call Microsoft for support, as it should be.
  • by White Flame (1074973) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:45PM (#20705211)

    I need to buy a new system (current motherboard got damaged, might as well upgrade), and I've been weighing my options. Vista is simply not an option at all. XP Pro 64-bit is orphaned, with virtually nonexistent driver support. XP is 32-bit, and I already was running Win2k with 4GB of RAM (well, as much as it will use of that) and need to grow.

    After all these years of Windows desktop and Linux here & there on servers and VMs, I'm going to finally make the jump the Linux desktop, VMWare'ing Windows where I need it. I don't play PC games anymore (besides minesweeper), I'm going to get a quad CPU with 8GB of RAM, and Microsoft simply isn't offering anything viable for that configuration.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by calebt3 (1098475)
      I recommend VirtualBox.
  • Venerable? (Score:5, Funny)

    by porcupine8 (816071) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:47PM (#20705229) Journal
    Sorry, I know a lot of people think it's better than Vista, but when did XP become venerable?? Is there some secret meaning for that word that I don't know?
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Made me raise eyebrows too. When did the whole "to hell with XP, I'll stick to Win2k" thing vanished ? Remember ? XP has nasty anti-piracy features that can lock your PC, mandatory upgrades that you can not refuse and the license gives MS the right to erase any file on your disk. It also says you must send a kidney of your firstborn to Mr. B. G. Redmond, Seattle.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by GPL Apostate (1138631)
        It is really weird. There is an assumption these days that we've all 'upgraded' to XP. I honestly don't feel like a lame luddite for getting all my Windows needs fulfilled on a W2K box here at home. I use it for video editing, embedded software development, various multimedia tasks, etc. I finally have had to run XP at work, but there's essentially nothing about it to compel me to 'upgrade' at home. The few commercial packages I might be interested in 'upgrading' seem to incorporate the new Microsoft '
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sorry, I know a lot of people think it's better than Vista, but when did XP become venerable?? Is there some secret meaning for that word that I don't know?
      After using the GUI gave me VD. Oh, venerable not venereal.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      > ...but when did XP become venerable?

      Whenever my computer gets a virus. On the internets one can gets lots of venerable diseases...

      o_O
  • News? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Barny (103770)
    How the hell is this news, downgrade rights have been available for consumers of ultimate and business since launch, it is how they get so many corporate sales of vista (since they ignore the vista part and just load xp pro as always.

    I had one of the senior MS sales people for Australia recommend for our store to buy a 1 user "mass license" and then use that for installing downgrade rights, this is an option that has been open to OEMers for quite a while, its just they are finally waking up and realising th
  • It boils down to the fact that Vista is simply not mature enough yet. I run XP Pro and am happy with it and I have no intentions of switching to Vista anytime soon. Now in a year or two when it's up to service pack 2 AND you can run DOSBox inside of XPBox AND software compatibilities are a thing of the past because Vista is the target not XP then I'll upgrade.
    And this old XP machine will probably become an Ubuntu box then.
    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday September 21, 2007 @06:55PM (#20706031)
      It boils down to the fact that XP is simply not mature enough yet. I run 2000 Pro and am happy with it and I have no intentions of switching to XP anytime soon. Now in a year or two when it's up to service pack 4 AND you can run DOSBox AND software compatibilities are a thing of the past because XP is the target not 2000 then I'll upgrade.
      And this old 2000 machine will probably become a Mandrake box then.
      • by headkase (533448)
        Your parroting dodges the central point of my post: as Vista matures it will become more viable and the juggernaut that is Microsoft guarantees this eventuality.
  • Anyone else foresee the re-release of Vista sometime in the future? I mean, it's failed with businesses (no one in their right minds is installing it for their lay corporate workers). It's failed with enthusiasts. Why not just change the UI back to what made Windows "Windows", make some resource requirement adjustments, work with major companies on driver support for a a year, and release it like an entirely new OS. It worked before. And we, for the most part, loved 98SE.
  • by stubear (130454) on Friday September 21, 2007 @06:20PM (#20705651)
    I waited an extra month or two to purchase my new Dell XPS M2010 just to get Vista since it was on the horizon and as far as I could tell all my hardware/software worked for the most part or new drivers were already in beta for one of my Epson printers. I would have not waited six months for Vista, nor do I have any plans to go out and purchase it for any of my other machines, but I can't say I'm unhappy that I waited a month to get it on my new-ish system. The Vista Media Center is EXCELLENT and in my opinion is unmatched by any other software or dedicated box. Microsoft could dominate the PVR market if they released a Zune TV device that basically booted straight into WMC without the Windows UI anywhere to be seen. Let me sync recorded shows to a Zune 2.0 device and Apple's hold on the handheld media device market would begin to wane. Some of the adjustments to Explorer and the Start menu are nice and improve the usefulness of both a little bit. My biggest problems with Vista aren't Microsoft's doing, they are the third party developers who dragged their feet even knowing full well that Vista was coming out and they knew what they had to do to make their software compatible. There really is little Microsoft can do to get developers to use user accounts properly (which have been a apart of NT from the start, Vista is the first time Microsoft has enforced their use). I really don't see the need for anyone other than corporate customers to downgrade to XP.
  • OS version revision (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Friday September 21, 2007 @06:22PM (#20705673)
    This just goes to show you that Joe Consumer out there will use whatever he is comfortable with. I know several non-technically-inclined people who took advantage of an "OS version revision (not a downgrade necessarily)" to XP just because they don't like how slow their new computers were running and they didn't like the San Quintenesque security of Vista.

    I also know several people who still use Windows 98 on their home machines just because they like it. Sure they can't get new Windows Updates and finding new software is damn near impossible but they like it.

    On the other hand, I do know a handful of people who like Vista and actually prefer it over XP. Not for the security, but for the "WOW". Of course their systems are superlative in every respect to performance.

    This "use what you like" thing may be why Mac OSs do so well. I mean, what really has changed from UI, performance and security perspectives that can be easily seen since OS 10.0?

    Change is a bitch. I know. I know. Get off my lawn.
    • "...and they didn't like the San Quintenesque security of Vista."
      This is the first I am hearing that the security at San Quinten was merely an illusion.
    • by diamondsw (685967)
      UI and security are pretty similar, but OS X has actually gotten significantly faster from version to version. There was a LOT of room for optimization.
  • by Brett Buck (811747) on Friday September 21, 2007 @06:41PM (#20705891)
    Or Xp = Slurm Classic?

          Brett
  • by jkrise (535370) on Friday September 21, 2007 @06:59PM (#20706069) Journal
    Last evening, I met with the IT chief of a large transnational bank, for whom we develop Enterprise code. I asked him about what software platforms are envisaged in the long run, and the process behind evaluation. He said, "Basically we have a Red-Amber-Green colour scheme for software."

    Under this scheme, Vista is Red, so is IE7, ActiveX controls, Visual Basic and Visual Basic .Net; I was surprised to learn that Visual Studio as a whole is 'Amber'! SuSE and RedHat Linux are both green, so is PHP, RubyonRails, Eclipse, Websphere etc. Interestingly, he said the IT staff of several banks get together and discuss matters affecting common issues like this.

    So I guess it's the OEMs who are FORCED TO OFFER XP and XP-compatible hardware, drivers and support to their biggest customers. This isn't some gift of charity from His Billness or the new acting Chair-man from Microsoft. Nobody sane would like to willingly downgrade to Vista - simple as that.
  • by LM741N (258038)
    OOh, I figured out how to burn bootable dvd and cd iso's without any 3rd party programs.

    Seriously, I just consider it another incremental upgrade. I haven't touched B itlocker and the "Ultimate" apps are vaporware. Its not such a bad OS. Bill Gates scared away all the corporate customers with the "Wow factor" crap. He should have just concentrated on useful new features like the ability to get a commmand window at any folder. IIS people might have some interest in things like that.

    And I have not had an
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by allcar (1111567)
      He should have just concentrated on useful new features like the ability to get a commmand window at any folder. If that's the most compelling reason to upgrade, it's not surprising that things aren't going too well for Vista. I'm sure that was a "PowerToy" ages ago.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by UnknownSoldier (67820)
      > He should have just concentrated on useful new features like the ability to get a commmand window at any folder.

      Agreed.

      In the meantime, snag 4NT.

      Command Prompt -> Explorer
      alias x=start explorer /e,"%_CWD"

      Explorer -> Command Prompt
      http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/files/OpenCommandWindowHere.zip [codinghorror.com]

    • but I was at home visiting my peoples last month, and I scanned a class reunion photo at a high DPI for archiving. Windows Vista Home (new Dell desktop). The file was 300MB. I stuck a blank CD in the drive, some software popped up, I dragged the file over, and it burned the file to the CD. Well, actually, it kinda hung. So I rebooted and tried again. Same result. Had to catch my flight, so I got back and tried the CDs in my computer. Coasters. Is there some clever way to burn data CDs in Vista? I
  • XP has been several years in the wild, Vista, not even one.

    XP is a solid platform, even if it isn't as secure by design, it still works and can be secured with the right knowledge (i.e don't do stuff as 'root')

    Of course Microsoft will offer the more stable platform is customers really want it. Who is dumb enough to really think Vista is yet as mature as XP yet - and even with the same level of support, even now? Either way, the licence fees are the same and go to the same place, so guess what, Microsoft sti
    • The fundamental security flaws in the APIs that Windows has been burdened with are still there. They're not going to go away, if Microsoft is still keeping them there after 10 years of vigorous exploitation. Adding more "mitigating factors" to try and reduce the danger once your system is penetrated through one of them is useful, yes, but the bottom line is still the same... security is like sex... once you're penetrated you're ****ed.
  • Hubris (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Un pobre guey (593801) on Friday September 21, 2007 @07:38PM (#20706481) Homepage
    Microsoft's marketing machine has always tried to convey the idea that they are the de facto standard for everything, much as IBM tried to do in the 1980s. It didn't last long back then for IBM, and it is wearing thin for Microsoft today. If you really are the de facto standard, you are able to force things down the customers' throats and charge them an arm and a leg for it. When there are alternatives, such as a perfectly serviceable WinXP in this case, it is no longer that easy. Microsoft has to back down because a) XP works perfectly alright for most folks, especially on newer hardware, and b) Mac laptops (and to a much lesser extent GNU/Linux distros like Ubuntu) are distracting eyes and pocketbooks.

    It's the natural evolution of a market. Frankly, it took a perversely long time, most likely due to Microsoft's monopolistic hold on pre-installed operating systems. They can't complain. They made a few bucks while it lasted, and are making more still.

  • and hated it, unstable and buggy to say the least. Installed Vista Business x64 last week and I'm very satisfied. It won't boot Fedora 7 off my main machine, but many of the issues are being ironed out. It is different and requires some re-learning and discarding of old habits/notions, but it isn't the junk that so many make it out to be. Too many people on tech forums have begun to sound like old women to set in their ways to learn something different.
  • If Dell/HP have to pay vista-like prices for the XP licenses I could see Microsoft having no problems at all.
  • I used Vista today - it's more of the same.

    Microsoft internal text: Primary changes per release

    1) Change location of 50% or more of system utilities.
    2) Change "theme" of GUI.
    3) Change names of common default programs.
    4) Require faster hardware for "shiny" effect X.

    ?

    Windows 1.0 --> Windows 3.1
    Windows 3.1/3.11 --> Windows 95
    Windows 95 --> Windows 98
    Windows 98 --> Windows 98SE
    Windows 98SE --> Windows ME (ugh)
    Windows ME --> Windows 2000
    Windows 2000 --> Windows XP
    Windows XP --> Windows Vi

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