Microsoft Confirms Windows 7 Downgradable to XP

Dennis Faas's picture

At this point, Windows 7 represents Microsoft's best hope for regaining the confidence of business and home users disgruntled with its much-maligned Windows Vista operating system. Just in case Win7 doesn't satisfy, however, the company is making it downgradable all the way to Windows XP.

Downgrading a Windows system is hardly new, but prior to Vista the demand for such retroactive steps was actually quite rare. As Vista's popularity began to wane only a few months after its launch in early 2007, computer makers and retailers began marketing certain systems that had XP instead of the newer, glitzier Vista.

One could argue that the current 'netbook' craze is owed to the fact that most of these speedy little laptops run Linux or XP, with only the already dated HP Mini 2140 offering Vista.

In many ways, the Vista fiasco was something out of a bizarro universe, and no one was more embarrassed about it than Microsoft.

MS Introduces New Program for Downgrades

Enter Windows 7, an operating system that is receiving huge attention from consumers willing to give the Redmond-based company one more chance. However, it seems Microsoft has noted the anger that came along with its attempts to force Vista on users, and from the get-go will make sure consumers can opt for the older, well-established XP.

In fact, Microsoft is launching a new program that allows PC makers to construct and ship out machines already downgraded to an older operating system without the customer having to make the demand. Thus, a PC maker can estimate how many XP-based machines will sell and can load all of those, based purely on estimate, for resale.

Who Qualifies For Downgrades?

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. (Source:

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. (Source:

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