Users fed up with running Windows Vista Business or Windows Ultimate might now be able to ditch Vista for Windows XP Pro, which Microsoft has quietly begun to allow.
Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo are just a few of the system manufacturers offering downgrades. Each of these PC makers offer an XP Pro recovery disc to those who request one that can be used to revert a Vista machine to XP Pro.
Dell, HP, and Lenovo customers can request a Windows XP Pro recovery disc to be included with their purchase of a Vista machine – should they want to revert in the future. Customers who already have purchased a Vista PC can request an XP Pro recovery CD for a small one-off fee by calling technical support.
However, the policies spell different for every vendor. For instance, a Lenovo website for downgrading to XP Pro states: "For a limited time only Lenovo customers that have Windows Vista Business or Ultimate installed on their machines will have the chance to purchase a Windows XP Recovery CD."
Dell small business customers who purchased a system with either the Vista Business or Ultimate operating system could pay an extra $20 (£10) to have XP Pro recovery discs shipped with the machine. An extra Windows licence for the XP Pro software would not be required, according to Dell.
HP business sales staff described a near identical downgrade plan, except for the fact the XP Pro recovery discs would not include a licence to activate the OS.
The desire to revert to XP Pro from Vista is a business trend, not a consumer trend, said Chris Swenson, director of software industry analysis for market research firm NPD Group.
"Retail consumers are not requesting to go back to XP," Swenson says. Businesses are more sensitive to upgrades because Vista requires a more robust computer to run programs at peak performance. Vista requires better graphics and memory than XP, forcing companies to spend more on systems, he said.
Additionally some customers and businesses have complained about Vista's lack of support for software and hardware designed originally for XP.