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Windows Operating Systems Software

What Does It Take To Get a PC With XP? 513

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sell-your-soul-to-the-devil dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Christopher Null tried to buy a computer with Windows XP pre-installed on it from the United States' nine biggest PC makers. His findings: You can get one, but be prepared to fib."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What Does It Take To Get a PC With XP?

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  • by Drakin020 (980931) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:06AM (#24228243)

    I constantly purchase Dell computers for my work. They come with XP Pre-Installed but they also have a Vista license.

    Now for a normal home user, this may be different, but I've had no problems at all.

    Maybe it's for the kind of computer...I purchase Latitudes, and precision computers. If someone wanted an Inspirion it may be different.

    • by Martin Blank (154261) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:18AM (#24228421) Journal

      Corporate customers get significant leeway in their orders, especially if a contract was signed beforehand. Even without those, however, most corporate customers have access through Microsoft to Windows XP under Open, Select, or Software Assurance licenses and if the Vista licenses that come with the computer fall under the terms of those agreements, they may legally downgrade. (There may be some other situations in which a customer may legally install a prior version of Windows, but I'm kind of fuzzy on what they may be.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Even without those, however, most corporate customers have access through Microsoft to Windows XP under Open, Select, or Software Assurance licenses and if the Vista licenses that come with the computer fall under the terms of those agreements, they may legally downgrade.

        The licenses that come with the computer are completely separate from Microsoft's volume licensing programs. Dell is selling you an OEM license for Vista that includes downgrade rights, which means you can run Windows Vista, XP, ME, 2000, 98, 95, or 3.1 on that particular computer (volume licensing is not tied to particular hardware). Large VARs and OEMs traditionally did not offer nor support any downgrade options themselves, but the corporate demand for XP over Vista created a significant enough market

      • by LinuxDon (925232) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @05:40PM (#24234963)

        You can just purchase a PC with vista business or "higher". Then just install Windows XP on it. When prompted for an activation code, just use a code from another PC.
        Then you'll find it often won't activate through the internet, so you call Microsoft on the number displayed on the screen. Then you'll get a representative and you'll them him/her you're downgrading from windows vista business to XP.
        On rare occasions they'll ask you for the Windows vista business license code. Next, you'll get the code by phone and just activate it.

        We use this procedure all the time on all of our new computers.

    • by philspear (1142299) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:18AM (#24228433)

      Now for a normal home user, this may be different, but I've had no problems at all.

      Well... we're happy for you? And impressed with your ability to brag about what you're able to purchase for your work?

      In answer to your question, it's difficult because we're not you and are, in fact, normal home users.

      I'm pretty sure that shouldn't have needed explaining...

      • by KillerBob (217953) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:22AM (#24228493)

        Go to the Dell website. Click on the computers (either notebook or desktop) for Small/Home Office, instead of for consumers. There, you'll find a product line called the Vostro, which offers the same hardware as the Inspiron line of product, but a different aesthetic look/feel. The difference? On the Vostro, you have an option to upgrade from Vista Home Basic to Vista Business edition... last I checked, it was $90. One of the two Business options is to have it come with XP Professional pre-installed.

        It's not hard. You don't have to lie. You don't have to be a business to order it. And you can order it through the website without having to speak to a sales rep. (though you can also ask for it over the phone)

        • by KillerBob (217953) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:25AM (#24228531)

          One more thing... you can also choose that option on the XPS line of gaming systems.

          • by somersault (912633) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:56AM (#24229043) Homepage Journal

            Only someone at our company ordered an XPS that has no equivalent XP drivers. I really didn't want to let them get Vista, but they were wanting something flashy to show off at presentations -.- They now want to install XP on the laptop but tough shit, I warned them in the first place, and if there are no drivers available, then the system may be pretty unusable in XP. There perhaps are hacked XP drivers or even actual XP drivers available now though.. is that a ray of light at the end of the tunnel?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by gravis777 (123605)

              We have some HPs with that issue - you can get an XP license, but the hardware does not have XP drivers.

              Besides, didn't you say your guy wanted something flashy? Vista is certainly that.

              I just get kinda pissed off about people who ditch Vista who have never used it, who have only used early betas, or are trying to run it on underpowered systems, or who complain its too different.

              Linux gets ditched by people who have never used it, find it complicated, have not used it in years, and who complain that such an

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Khyber (864651)

            Good luck finding XP drivers for any of nVidia's newer mobile graphics. I had to hack the .inf file to get the ForceWare installer to recognize my 8600M GS in my HP DV9825 under windows xp pro.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by hairyfeet (841228)
              Have you tried Z-tweaked [thezproject.org], or maybe Guru3d [nforcershq.com]? I have always had a better experience with their drivers than anything Nvidia puts out,and there drivers are hacked to let you run them on pretty much anything. And I know that one of them does put out mobile drivers because I accidently downloaded them once when I was in a hurry. Finally there is Driverpacks [driverpacks.net] which will let you make a full WinXP DVD with every driver for both desktop and mobile preinstalled. I have an unattended version for repairs and it works bea
        • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:30AM (#24228611) Journal

          It's not hard. You don't have to lie. You don't have to be a business to order it. And you can order it through the website without having to speak to a sales rep. (though you can also ask for it over the phone)

          But you do have to pay extra for it, which is worse than having to lie to get it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ShinmaWa (449201)

          You can also go Alienware's website (which is now owned by Dell). I picked out an Area 51 and clicked "customize". Halfway down the page I was offered not one, but two XP options:

          ( ) Genuine Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 - DirectX 9 Only! [-$50]
          ( ) Genuine Windows XP Professional - DirectX 9 Only!

          Doesn't even cost extra. I also wouldn't call Alienware as targeted to a corporate audience either.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by somersault (912633)

        we're not you and are, in fact, normal home users

        I'm not you, and I, in fact, only use Windows at work. In my job role I basically get to tell people what they are and are not allowed to purchase in terms of computer hardware, so the OP's post is quite relevant to me.

        I have seen at least one other slashdotter claim that they only use Windows because they have to for work as well. I've not seen many claim that they are 'normal home users'. I expect people in that category spend far more time watching YouTube or playing 'The Sims' than they ever do on slash

    • by TitusC3v5 (608284) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:21AM (#24228475) Homepage
      Or, if this DOES become a real problem, simply purchase a computer from your local mom and pop PC place. If they're anything like the ones here, they'll be happy to set you up with whatever OS you want, be it XP, Vista, or *nix.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dotancohen (1015143)

      I purchase Latitudes, and precision computers. If someone wanted an Inspirion it may be different.

      Good thing the Inspiron comes with Ubuntu.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:06AM (#24228245)

    They are so friendly and customer-focused that you have to jump through hoops to get the product that you want. Why do we put up with this shit when we wouldn't accept this from almost any other industry?

    • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:18AM (#24228415) Journal

      We accept this from almost every industry. Automobiles, appliances, internet services, telephone service, cell phone services(pay to receive calls? You all are nuts to swallow that), and most of all your government. Everybody complains like hell, but they keep on buying the BS.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jellomizer (103300)

        There is nothing stopping you from starting a competing company that doesn't have those problems. Or you just not purchase those products. Hey you can even setup a movement to get others to boycott such products and you do it well enough it may work. Yes none of those solutions are easy but where does it say Life should be easy, in any counties laws. The fact that taking the BS is so much easier then doing something about it thus it continues.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dotancohen (1015143)

        We accept this from almost every industry. Automobiles, appliances, internet services, telephone service, cell phone services(pay to receive calls? You all are nuts to swallow that), and most of all your government. Everybody complains like hell, but they keep on buying the BS.

        Americans PAY to receive cellphone calls? Can someone confirm that? Do people find this ridiculous, or is this commonly accepted?

        • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Thursday July 17, 2008 @11:38AM (#24229707)
          It's true, and it's fucking retarded. We pay to send and receive cell phone calls/text messages. I don't understand how this sits with people as being ok, either, and I'm an American.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @11:44AM (#24229787)

          Americans PAY to receive cellphone calls? Can someone confirm that? Do people find this ridiculous, or is this commonly accepted?

          Yes, it's true, and it's commonly accepted. The reason is a bit long.

          Historically, cell phone service cost quite a bit more to provide than landline service, so someone has to pay more when a cell phone is part of a call.

          Most of the world has taken the view that the caller should pay more when calling a cell phone, and that the cell phone recipient shouldn't pay for the call.

          In the USA, people have long been used to making unlimited local calls on landlines.

          Unlike many countries, cell phones in the USA (and Canada) do not have a reserved numbering scheme where the phone number clearly identifies that this number is a cell phone.

          It was tried to have a reserved numbering scheme to identify cell phones and charge the caller more for calling a cell phone. The market overwhelmingly rejected it. People said, "You want me to pay more to call you on your cell phone? Get a real phone you piece of [censored] yuppie!" and refused to call. For market acceptance, the caller could not be charged extra to call a cell phone.

          So, the only other person to charge for the call was the cell phone owner.

          So, US cellphone ownwers pay to make & receive calls. On the other hand, it doesn't cost more to call a cellphone instead of a landline, and it usually costs less to make an outgoing call from a cell phone.

          Frankly, many of you non-USians are getting screwed on calls. I once called my friend on her mobile in Sydney, Australia. My call had to cross the entire Pacific ocean, but I still paid less to talk to her than her mother (located in Sydney, Australia) does to call her on her mobile. Why? Competition and not having to deal with the local oligopoly.

          Further, cellphone calls are getting very cheap in the US. Many carriers have unlimited plans for $100 USD or less - unlimited incoming & outgoing local calls, domestic long distance, data, and SMS.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Solandri (704621)

          Americans PAY to receive cellphone calls? Can someone confirm that? Do people find this ridiculous, or is this commonly accepted?

          The vast majority of American phone plans are a flat rate for a fixed number of minutes, not a per-minute charge. For home phone service, it's usually a flat rate for an unlimited number of minutes (some plans even give unlimited long distance). Apparently, given a choice, people prefer paying the same amount every month instead of a variable amount depending on the calls they

    • by wild_quinine (998562) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:23AM (#24228509) Homepage

      They are so friendly and customer-focused that you have to jump through hoops to get the product that you want. Why do we put up with this shit when we wouldn't accept this from almost any other industry?

      An industry related example: Good luck buying a power PC Apple Mac direct from the manufacturer. That's right - even if you ask really nicely, and even if they were still making them less than two years ago. It's an old product, and you can't get it any more.

      A car analogy: Good luck buying a Jaguar XJ220 direct from Jag. It's an older model. They don't make them any more.

      OK, so with software it's a bit different - 'making' them is as simple as copying the data, insofaras manufacture goes. But no company can make something and offer no help or support, period. That's not legal. If they want to lay old tech to rest, then that's their decision.

      Yes, Vista is inferior to XP in many ways. Lots of new products are inferior to old products in many ways. If a company is done with a product, consumers do not have a right to force them to keep supplying it.

      • by danbert8 (1024253) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:27AM (#24228565)

        The problem with your car analogy is that you can still buy a Jag XJ220 used. It is illegal to resell old copies of Windows XP for use in new computers. Now if Microsoft were to allow that, it might not be such a big deal.

        • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:32AM (#24228645) Journal

          It is illegal to resell old copies of Windows XP for use in new computers.

          The right of first sale [wikipedia.org] has been consistently upheld by every court decision I am aware of. Do you know something I don't?

          • by thpr (786837) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:51AM (#24228977)
            Ironically, you should read the "Computer Software" section of the first sale [wikipedia.org] article. The last paragraph in that section refers to a case where it was not upheld. Then read page 13, lines 12-21 of MDY Industries, LLC v. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. et al [justia.com] for a reference to three cases, that show examples of the issue of licensed vs. sold software and what rights you may not have under copyright law with licensed software.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            It is illegal to resell old copies of Windows XP for use in new computers.

            The right of first sale has been consistently upheld by every court decision I am aware of. Do you know something I don't?

            The GP was incorrect in that it generally is not illegal to resell XP or other software. However, that is a bit misleading because most Windows licenses cannot be reused due to the terms of OEM OS licenses. The license is valid only on the computer with which it was sold so you're limited to selling only the boxed retail copies of Windows. Additionally, when the marketplace ignores the right of first sale (as eBay does), it make it difficult to sell the product even if you have the legal right to do so.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          You are completely wrong. You can resell retail versions of XP with no problem. Possibly OEM as well. You just can't resell the copy that came with your Dell, as it is marked "not for resell".
          • by Blue Stone (582566) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:48AM (#24228899) Homepage Journal
            The fact that an OEM XP CD is marked 'not for resale' doesn't mean anything - as should have been proved by a recent court decision regarding music promo CDs, where the judge ruled that they were a gift and no longer the property of the record companies - who consequently had NO SAY over what was done with them (short of copyright laws and duplication).

            If that's the case for gifts, where you've paid money for something, the case for right of resale would be even stronger.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Toby_Tyke (797359)
          it is illegal to resell old copies of Windows XP

          Seriously?

          That might be the case in the US of A ( not sure, as my lack of knowledge regarding US law is surpassed only by my lack of interest in US law), but over here in good old blighty we certainly can resell copies. CEX, a large high street retailer of second hand computer goods, will happily flog you a used copy of XP pro or home. Link [cex.co.uk]

          Try not to wince too much at the prices.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dracos (107777)

        A car analogy: Good luck buying a Jaguar XJ220 direct from Jag. It's an older model. They don't make them any more.

        Last I heard (a few years ago now), Jaguar had at least 24 XJ220's in a warehouse, the result of canceled pre-orders based on the prototype car having a V12 engine and all wheel drive. The production version had a turbo V6, rear wheel drive, and a 30% price increase.

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @11:10AM (#24229291) Homepage

        cripes,. you can buy OEM copies of XP all over the place.

        go to newegg.com and buy a oem copy and a mouse.

        All done. Why did this even get to slashdot?

      • by dwandy (907337) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @11:35AM (#24229645) Homepage Journal
        Interesting pick, the XJ220, 'cause the way I read it, the XJ220 is Jaguar's Vista [howstuffworks.com] except that Jaguar isn't a monopoly that could force everyone to buy this over-priced turd.

        So we see in this example the difference - when you're a monopoly, you sell crap and people have no choice. Jaguar on the other hand had trouble unloading their stock, and I'm sure people with half-a-million bucks to blow on car simply went and got Porche's, Ferrari's etc instead...

        So to simply state that you can't buy an old model car is missing part of the point. I'm going to suggest that had the car sold well, it could well still be available today. Porsche has been making the 911 for many years and will make it for many more since it sells very well. Ford (for reasons beyond me) tried to replace the Mustang with the Probe and the outcry from the public resulted in the return of the Mustang - now you can't buy the Probe. Coke tried New Coke, today we pretty much have Coke.

        There's plenty of examples in industry where successful companies respond to customer demand and sell them what they want, and when the company goes off the path they actually listen to their customers. This is because they have to compete with other companies offering customers an alternative.

        Lucky for Microsoft they don't have such baggage to worry about. ...and this goes for most of the other examples I'm reading here like cell-phone and internet service providers. The lack of competition leaves a lot of power in the hands of the company to do what it wants instead of providing what the customer is demanding.

  • by neokushan (932374) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:06AM (#24228249)

    An Internet connection.

    • To get the answer in this case, a more powerful web server too. :P
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by LSD-OBS (183415)

      Indeed :)

      I feel absolutely nothing about installing a pirated copy of XP SP3 on any new hardware. In fact, I fully expect Microsoft's lawyers to contact me asking for a list of all the hardware I've bought recently with Vista OEM on, so that they can give me a price difference refund for "downgrading".

  • by aztektum (170569) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:07AM (#24228261)

    I have been looking at ordering a new laptop. I have been considering the Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 with the 256MB nVidia graphics card. My plan is to wipe it and use Ubuntu (according to ubuntuforums.org the Y510 is nicely compatible out of the box.) I'd rather not pay the Windows tax.

    Anyone know if I talk to Lenovo I can get them to sell me the laptop without Windows?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Scotteh (885130)
      It'd be great if some laptops were sold with a blank harddrive. If someone wants Windows, chances are they'll take Vista. If someone wants Linux, chances are they won't want the distribution that is preloaded on the laptop. If I wanted to buy a Linux laptop, I'd rather it be blank so that I could set it up the way I want it.
      • by magarity (164372) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:34AM (#24228663)

        It'd be great if some laptops were sold with a blank harddrive
         
        You mean, "Isn't it great that plenty of laptops are sold with blank hard drives." Go to pricewatch.com and check the 'laptops, no OS' section or google for 'laptop barebones'. They'll all be the original brands, Clevo, Compal, Asus, etc, and not the reseller brands, Sony, Dell, HP, etc. But it'll be the same thing and cost less. What you get with the big names is 1: a support phone line, 2: the exact same laptop with a brand name sticker strangers will respect you for being able to afford and, of course 3: Windows.

        • Go to pricewatch.com and check the 'laptops, no OS' section or google for 'laptop barebones'. They'll all be the original brands, Clevo, Compal, Asus, etc, and not the reseller brands, Sony, Dell, HP, etc. But it'll be the same thing and cost less. What you get with the big names is 1: a support phone line, 2: the exact same laptop with a brand name sticker strangers will respect you for being able to afford and, of course 3: Windows.

          4: Assurance that the operating system that you plan to install contains drivers for the hardware in the laptop. Is there a way to exclude laptops from pricewatch's results that contain a major component (e.g. accelerated video, WLAN, Bluetooth) with no */Linux support?

    • by xzvf (924443)
      They sell most of the T series with Suse 10 and it works very well with Ubuntu and Fedora. Most likely with the Y series you'll have to buy it with Vista and then ask for a refund. I don't work for Lenovo, but I suspect they get some revenue (or advertising kickback) from the "Lenovo recommends MS Vista Business" tags they have on their sites. I once had the Lenovo site give me the option of purchasing a laptop with DOS for only $4995 extra. Wish I did a screen capture of that page.
    • I was able to get 16 Y510s from TigerDirect [tigerdirect.com] without an OS on them. Of course, that was the corporate account and I think they were sold out of them the last time I checked. They work beautifully with Ubuntu right out of the box!
    • by lophophore (4087) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:51AM (#24228975) Homepage

      I bought a T81 from Lenovo with SuSe Linux 10 on it; no windows tax. That was direct from Lenovo.com

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dotancohen (1015143)

      Anyone know if I talk to Lenovo I can get them to sell me the laptop without Windows?

      Ask them:
      http://www.lenovo.com/contact/us/en/ [lenovo.com]
      1-866-96-THINK

      If they do, they'll tell you. If they don't, then they need to hear it from us that we want to be able to buy systems without the MS tax. If we don't ask, they will never know that's what we want.

  • Torrent (Score:5, Funny)

    by courteaudotbiz (1191083) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:07AM (#24228263) Homepage
    1. Buy a PC
    2. Download Windows XP through your favorite Torrent site
    3. Install Windows XP
    4. Enjoy...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Scotteh (885130)
      And also enjoy not being able to use Windows Update to get the lovely updates that makes Windows semi-safe.
      • Re:Torrent (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jcgf (688310) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:57AM (#24229069)

        I downloaded a copy of XP to run under parallels from a torrent. It was a custom ISO that did not require activation or entering a serial number. It also gets the updates perfectly every time without complaint.

        I had more trouble setting up virtual machines in VMWare at work with legit copies than I did with the pirated copy.

  • Or perhaps (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    be prepared to walk.

    That's how I was able to order a business machine from Dell. I told the sales rep that it was either that or HP as the consumer end didn't have what I want.

  • The easy way... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by billy901 (1158761)
    If you find someone who has an old XP machine, and you have an old OEM XP disk, just buy the machine and install Windows and use the activation code on the machine. I work at a place that fixes computer up doing this every day.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How much easier could it get?!

      1) Obtain ancient boxen (at some cost)

      2)Obtain XP >=SP2 (somehow...)

      3) Install yourself

      4) ?????

      5) NO PROFIT!!!!! FAIL!!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:12AM (#24228329)

    What does it take to get a PC with XP?
    Our reporter tried to buy a computer with Windows XP preinstalled on it from the United States' nine biggest PC makers. His findings: You can get one, but be prepared to fib.
    Christopher Null (PC World (US online)) 17/07/2008 15:58:43

    I won't waste time rehashing the argument over whether Windows Vista is any good. The fact remains that lots of people prefer Windows XP, and they'll go to great lengths to get it.

    The problem: Windows XP "officially" went off the market on June 30, 2008, and computer vendors aren't supposed to sell new machines configured with any version of Windows except Vista.

    Fortunately for XP enthusiasts and Vista vetoers, the PC marketplace still has a loophole or two in it. In response to pressure from customers, Microsoft has made some concessions for people who really want XP, offering a lifeline for users willing and able to wade through the company's convoluted downgrading program. The upshot is that virtually every copy of Vista Business or Vista Ultimate Edition is sold with a license for XP, which a computer manufacturer can exercise to install XP Professional on any Vista Business or Vista Ultimate PC.

    But just because a manufacturer can install XP doesn't mean that it will. And just because its official policy permits it to sell XP machines doesn't mean that its employees understand that policy.

    To find out how difficult it is to get a new XP machine these days, I asked the nine largest PC vendors in the United States--Dell, HP, Gateway, Toshiba, Acer, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Sony, and Asus--about the specifics of their downgrade policies. Then, to see how closely the official story synced up with the reality in the marketplace, I called sales representatives for each company and asked them whether I could purchase a new laptop equipped with XP from them.

    The verdict? Downgrade policies are all over the map, and more than a few rank-and-file sales reps have a sketchy understanding of those policies. Some notebook PC sellers make getting XP preinstalled on a new laptop a snap; others don't offer it under any circumstance. As a rule of thumb, your odds of finding a machine with XP and a sales rep who knows how to configure a machine with that OS are far greater if you call the business sales line instead of the consumer sales line. (Be prepared to fib and say you're planning to buy 25 computers during the next 12 months.) Getting XP via online purchase can be tricky, too.

    Here's how each manufacturer's formal policy--and informal reality--shakes out.

    Dell

    The Official Word: Dell has one of the most extensive and detailed policies on Windows XP of the nine vendors I investigated, but getting XP preinstalled on a machine may cost you extra. The company outlines the situation in this blog posting, where the company explains that though the XP downgrade program targets corporate customers, it's an option for general consumers, too. Though the rules are complicated, they are in line with those of most other sellers. To be eligible for an XP downgrade, you must be purchasing a Latitude laptop, an OptiPlex desktop, a Precision workstation, a Vostro laptop or desktop, an XPS 630 desktop, or an M1730 laptop. The machine must be specced to come with Vista Business or Vista Ultimate, and you can downgrade only to XP Professional. You must pay a $20 to $50 fee for the downgrade if you're buying a Vostro or XPS; corporate clients receive the downgrade at no charge. The program is slated to run until January 31, 2009, but Dell says that even after that it will continue to make some enterprise-level exceptions.

    The Real Deal: Alas, not all Dell reps seemed to be up to speed on the company's XP strategy. First I tried to purchase an Inspiron running XP for "home use" (that's not covered in Dell's policy, but I decided to try my luck anyway). The harried sales rep I spoke to told me, "We don't have any computers running XP any more." After some pushing, he acknowledged that "I think business has them" but ins

  • Talk about vendor lock in. I just hope Linux starts to make more headway into corporate desktops - and I don't just mean for developers. More support we get for Linux more it is going to be used by corporates.

    For whatever it is now, Windows wasn't all that great even 15 years ago. Very rudimentary, few supported applications and all that.

    It was all the corporate adoption and the developer ecosystem that has brought Windows to what it is now. I'm sure with more widespread usage we can get Linux to be a
  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:14AM (#24228361)
    TFA appears to be slashdotted, but I would suggest that it's just a matter of trying different (often smaller) suppliers until you find somebody who is willing to oblige. Smaller local shops can put together a system built exactly to your spec, and will happily install Windows XP [canadacomputers.com], all drivers, test the entire rig before delivering it to you, and offer a warranty equivalent to the big boxes.
  • Does anyone remember (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:14AM (#24228365) Homepage

    when Windows 95 first came out. Microsoft were so confident that users would enjoy it they even included the ability to roll back to Windows 3.1

    I wonder why they didn't include this option with Windows Vista...

    • by BUL2294 (1081735) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @12:20PM (#24230307)

      Microsoft were so confident that users would enjoy it they even included the ability to roll back to Windows 3.1

      Here's something shocking... Windows 3.11 (both Windows and Windows for Workgroups) outsold Windows 95 in both 1995 and 1996 calendar years. The reverse didn't happen until 1997. In fact, so many PCs were sold with Win3.1x after the introduction of Win95, catching software vendors by surprise, that several 32-bit apps initially released as Win95-only got back-ported to Windows 3.1x & Win32s in a subsequent interim release. (Case-in-point: Corel Print House from 1995/1996).

      Your useless trivia for the day...

  • Vista vs XP (Score:5, Informative)

    by lymond01 (314120) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:16AM (#24228395)

    Not that a large discussion needs to be had here as the article likely pertains (OCIDNRTFA) to home ownership, but I've chosen to start using Vista at work as of about 3 weeks ago.

    And it's, uh, fine. I have 2 GB of memory installed, Vista boots up to use half of that. Firefox, Thunderbird, Photoshop, server admin tools, web design programs are what I use mostly (and putty). The re-install process of everything got a little old with the administrator prompts (I run as a normal user, something I was reluctant to do in XP), but at the same time, it's nice not to have to choose Run as... all the time.

    We use it at home on a laptop as well (the kids' gaming machine is XP) and aside from taking 30 seconds to connect to the wireless after sleeping, it's fine.

    I think I just don't have any really high-performance needs, so Vista actually works for me. Whole Disk encryption is easier as well with Vista I hear, though I don't use it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And it's, uh, fine.

      Uhmmm.....I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to say things like that around here.

  • ...if Christopher had been a Devin, I guess XP just got piped to /dev/Null.

  • by Blice (1208832) <Lifes@Alrig.ht> on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:22AM (#24228483)
    You: Hey Microsoft, can I give you money for your product?

    Microsoft: No.

    You: Please..?
  • by Manip (656104) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:24AM (#24228523)

    Alright this Vista thing has got a little out of hand. Here's a quick recap on events up till now:
    1) Microsoft Released Windows Vista
    2) Windows Vista failed to live up to people's expectations
    3) People said "stick with Windows XP for now"
    4) People complained about the normal driver and application compatibility issues
    5) Somewhere along the line "stick with Windows XP for now" got turned into "Windows Vista sucks - stick with XP indefinitely."

    So now we have people paying the same amount of money either way and going out of their way to pickup Windows XP. I could appreciate that position a year when issues still existed but those have all but gone today.

    Vista is about as big of a leap as going from virgin XP to XP SP2. Meaning a few nice features but not really worth money. It has very few bugs and at least as many as XP currently does.

    Windows ME was terrible. But let's be clear - Vista isn't ME. Because Windows ME was genuinely an unstable buggy monster as opposed to Vista which is just a very minor upgrade with a huge price tag.

    Yes it eats more memory. SuperFetch converts all of your available free memory into better program loading times. These pages are marked so that they can be disposed of very quickly but when viewing a memory map it appears as if memory usage has skyrocketed.

    • by rsantmann (1101565) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:37AM (#24228721)
      I am an experienced software developer, and I have been installing and configuring computers for years (including DOS/Windows 3.11). While your experience may have been fine, rest assured that there are reasons why so many people hated Vista. "I have had nothing but problems with my Upgrade from Windows XP Pro to Windows Vista Business. The OS is plagued with driver and application issues, Windows Explorer takes ages for the most simple of tasks, the indexing service sucks up the hard disk even when the computer is in use, the user account control is endlessly nagging you, it is less stable than Windows XP (I get at least one blue screen of death every few days), the performance is absolutely abysmal for even the most mundane tasks, Windows doesn't turn on the screen half the time when resuming from standby, file sync doesn't work properly, indexing service wouldn't reinstall after uninstalling, none of my VPNs work properly, file search takes forever (with or without the indexing service turned on), when disabling and re-enabling my network card half the time the Disable button doesn't turn into a Enable button which requires me to reboot, the system restore wants to save the registry every time I boot (making it take forever), and an endless list of other annoying nuggets of lameness. I think the editor reviews that people wrote were after using it for a day or two. Sure, alot of the new features are cool, except none of them work correctly. Use it for a couple weeks and it will have you cursing non-stop."
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by arkhan_jg (618674)

      Vista SP1 runs slower than XP SP3 on the same hardware for network operations (copy, unrar etc). It's noticeably 'laggier' for general UI interfaces. There were some benches around a while back showing the disparity.

      I've noticed it on a number of systems, I have 4 pcs currently with dual or triple boot (vista, xp, ubuntu) - all with 2-4GB of RAM, dual or quad core 2's etc, so it's not hardware lacking.

      Mind you, if your hardware is anything less than ninja, vista will CRAWL.

      I sysadmin a 1200 user network. Vi

    • by pherthyl (445706) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @12:45PM (#24230665)

      >> Yes it eats more memory. SuperFetch converts all of your available free memory into better program loading times. These pages are marked so that they can be disposed of very quickly but when viewing a memory map it appears as if memory usage has skyrocketed.

      I know the theory, but it doesn't work in practice (at least not on my machine). When the system uses so much ram that you're hitting swap, you lose. Whether that's superfetch or something else, I really don't care. I just know that XP uses about 200, while Vista uses about 500-600 on boot, and the Vista install is brand new. And when I open programs that RAM is not freed like the theory says. The system just ends up swapping like crazy, which slows everything down to unbearable speeds and eats my laptop battery.

      Sure I only have 1GB of RAM. But that's plenty for XP and plenty for Linux, so I'm not inclined to spend money on hardware to run an OS with zero advantages.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by King_TJ (85913)

      Really? All the Vista issues from a year ago are gone now?

      Please tell me, then, how to get our HP Designjet 500 42" plotter working in Vista? Because apparently, HP has no drivers for anything newer than Windows XP for it (or many other older, but expensive large format plotters of theirs).

      That alone is a great reason for our company to stick with XP Pro.

  • by sootman (158191) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @10:32AM (#24228637) Homepage Journal

    Must be hell. Does he have a brother named Bobby Tables? [xkcd.com]

  • Tigerdirect (Score:3, Informative)

    by rossdee (243626) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @03:53PM (#24233781)

    Tigerdirect still sells PC's with XP, both desktops and laptops. You can even buy a barebones system with XP (not preinstalled)

    They have good prices too.

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/ [tigerdirect.com]

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