Report Suggests More Than 1/3 of New PCs Downgraded to XP

Dennis Faas's picture

A performance and metrics researcher reportedly estimates that more than one in every three new PCs -- approximately 35% of over 3,000 PCs -- has downgraded from Windows Vista to Windows XP, either at the factory or by the buyer.

The data was provided by users to Devil Mountain Software Inc's. -- which it kicked off last year and expanded by partnering with InfoWorld -- to come up with their numbers. By collating things such as the vendor and system model number with manufacturer's catalogs, machines were identified that were probably shipped within the past six months, when virtually every new PC offered came with Windows Vista preinstalled.

People are taking advantage of Vista's downgrade rights allowed under the terms of Microsoft's end-user licensing agreement, which is only available to consumers with Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate. Businesses purchasing Windows Vista Enterprise can also downgrade to XP.

Microsoft retired Windows XP on June 30, 2008 but OEMs are continuing to offer new PCs with XP preinstalled by doing the downgrade at the factory. The number of Vista licenses sold doesn't equal the number of Vista licenses being used.

Many enterprises are bypassing Windows Vista altogether. Benchmarks performed by Devil Mountain last year concluded that XP was much faster, and things haven't changed since then. Adding insult to injury, Devil Mountain noted that Windows Vista is the OS that never should have left the barn.

Only a little over 3,000 machines were examined by Devil Mountain, so it would be interesting to see a more thorough examination performed. Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows XP prematurely. Will Microsoft start listening to their customers now?

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