Microsoft Makes XP Downgrade Available
Microsoft is making a “downgrade” disc available to people who want to buy a new machine but would prefer to keep Windows XP rather than to “upgrade” to Windows Vista.
While Microsoft is still pushing Vista hard, the company is quietly allowing PC makers to offer a “downgrade” option to buyers that get machines with the new operating system but want to switch to Windows XP. The program applies only to Windows Vista Business and Ultimate versions, and it is up to PC makers to decide how, if at all, they want to make XP available. Fujitsu has been among the most aggressive, starting last month to include an XP disc in the box with its laptops and tablets.
While there is always resistance by some to move to a new operating system, there appears to be particularly strong demand, especially from businesses, to stick with XP. One of the challenges, for both businesses and consumers are Vista’s hefty graphics and memory needs.
HP, Gateway and others also still sell machines with XP on them, nearly a year after Microsoft first started offering Vista to businesses. Vista went on sale broadly to consumers in January, at which point XP largely disappeared from retail shelves. However, demand for XP has remained. In April, Dell brought XP back as an option even on consumer PCs.
A few years ago, I was constantly downloading utilities to get around various annoyances with my operating system and would replace my computer, printer, monitor, and so forth every three or four years because there were legitimate performance upgrades worth having. Nowadays, the only reason I’d replace any of my systems is if they are starting to cause problems and replacement is simply cheaper and more convenient than repair.
With the exception of the most avid gamers and design professionals, the state of the art PC, printer, and operating system circa 1999 is more than good enough. The learning curve required to switch over is often steep and annoying. (As noted previously, other than the value of compatibility with documents created by others, Office 2007 is a downgrade, not an upgrade, for someone used to the previous version because the new menu system is so different.) At some point, new products aren’t better, they’re merely different.