CWmike writes "Gregg Keizer reports that Microsoft acknowledged today it has 'broadened the options' for PC makers to continue offering Windows XP as a downgrade from Vista — and potentially even Windows 7. However, the company would not confirm specific reports that HP has been given the green light to sell new PCs with Windows XP Pro pre-installed through the end of April 2010. 'Windows XP went into semi-retirement in June 2008, when Microsoft stopped selling it at retail and withdrew Windows XP Home from use on all but netbooks, though it allowed XP Professional to be installed as a Vista downgrade. Since then, Microsoft has extended the final date it will sell XP Professional install media to large computer makers and smaller systems builders to July 31, 2009, and May 30, 2009, respectively. Today, Microsoft denied that it had extended the life span of Windows XP, and intimated that those rights were built into the newer operating system — in this case, Vista — and did not expire at some arbitrary date.'" Update: 04/07 14:36 GMT by T : nandemoari adds "Not only will users be able to keep Windows Vista, but they'll be able to step back in time two generations, all the way to XP. "We will offer downgrade rights from Windows 7 to Windows XP in the same way we did with Windows Vista," a Microsoft rep said. Insiders speculate that the right to use this time machine might be reserved for those purchasing licenses for only two versions of Windows 7 — Ultimate and Professional. However, that's not yet been confirmed."