The last day that manufacturers will pre-load Windows XP to computers is June 30, 2008. However you may have read that certain versions of the Vista operating system will have what are called “Downgrade Rights“.
These rights are primarily offered for the benefit of larger corporate customers who manage thousands of desktops and may not be ready to unleash a new operating system companywide. However consumers can also take advantage of this downgrade program which allows you to instruct the computer manufacturer to install Windows XP instead of Vista.
(Tip: Only certain versions of Vista qualify for downgrade – namely Visa Business and Vista Ultimate) .
Here is an explanation of how Dell is managing the downgrade process:
You will be able to purchase computers pre-loaded with Windows XP up until June 18, 2008. Customers can purchase select systems that include a license for Windows Vista Business or Vista Ultimate, and have the OS downgraded to XP Professional, which Dell installs.
EXCLUSIONS: Vista Home Premium and Vista Home Basic are NOT part of the downgrade rights program, NOR is XP Home.
Dell systems that are part of the downgrade rights program are:
— Latitude laptops, OptiPlex desktops and Dell Precision workstations
— Dell Vostro laptops and desktops
— Dell Gaming systems – the XPS 630 desktop and XPS M1730 laptop
(Note – Vista Ultimate is the only DGR OS option for these systems)
Dell offers the downgrade right program service at no charge on corporate client PCs, and charges a fee ($20-$50) on Vostro and XPS gaming systems.
Microsoft has stated the ability to provide the Windows XP recovery media ends on Jan. 31, 2009. After this PC manufacturers/system builders like Dell cannot send out Windows XP media.
There will be a few exceptions to this date – for example, some Volume License customers who get images installed through custom factory install (CFI) can continue to receive Vista licensed systems with XP installed.
So what does a customer get with Dell’s downgrade rights program service?
For the XP Professional that is installed under DGR:
— A hard drive based solution (software) to restore the Dell system back to the original configuration.
— A physical disk (media) to allow the reinstallation of the original XP Pro OEM operating system on a Dell computer (available until Jan 31, 2009).
— A physical disk (media) to allow the reinstallation of XP drivers, utilities and diagnostics on a Dell computer.
And for the Vista Business or Ultimate that was purchased with DGR:
— A Vista Certificate of Authentication (COA) affixed to the computer
— A physical disk (media) to allow the installation of the purchased Vista Business or Ultimate OEM operating system on a Dell computer.
— A physical disk (media) to allow the installation of Vista drivers, utilities and diagnostics on a Dell computer.
These downgrade rights will end in January 2009.
Link: Microsoft PDF Explaining Downgrade Rights
Link: Dell Blog – Life After Windows XP