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Windows 7-to-XP downgrade rights to expire soon?

Downgrading Windows on new computers may be a common occurrence in the enterprise sector, where some huge corporations prefer to use the aging Windows XP as the standard operating system for daily use. However, it seems that Microsoft is making plans to kill off this particular downgrade path soon.

Read on to find out more.

Businesses planning to purchase a Windows 7 machine and subsequently asking for the OEM to downgrade the bundled Windows 7 operating system to the old but venerable Windows XP may have to do so very soon, because there are signs that Microsoft intends to pull the plug on such downgrade rights soon.

The concept of downgrade rights for Windows operating systems is nothing new. However, Microsoft’s initial timeframe for the Win7-to-XP downgrade path was critisised by Gartner for being too short; with OEMs being given only up to April 22, 2010 before they have to cease offering Windows XP for sale with new machines which were originally supposed to be bundled with Windows 7.

In response to the criticism, Microsoft shelved the original plan, announcing instead that the new timeframe will stretch for for 18 months after the general availability of Windows 7 or when a new service pack for Windows 7 is released, whichever comes sooner. This decision, in theory, would allow for OEMs top continue offering Windows XP preinstalled with new machines until late April 2011.

However, with various reports about Microsoft currently working on SP1 for Windows 7, it seems that Microsoft clearly has no intention of letting Windows XP stay on in the market much longer. And while there is little to no information about any projected release dates for Windows 7 SP1, it is rather unlikely that Microsoft will need more than 5 months to roll out the next service pack, especially not when several builds of it have already been compiled for testing purposes.

Of course, any move to kill off Windows XP deployment on new PCs would probably have little to no impact on the home consumer market. After all, Windows 7 has already been greatly lauded by the media for being a vast improvement over its unfortunate predecessor Vista in terms of usability and performance.

The enterprise segment, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. In spite of the benefits Windows 7 boasts over XP and Vista, businesses might be reluctant or unwilling to upgrade due to various issues like administrative convenience and software compatibility with legacy applications, all of which are very real concerns in the business world.

That being said, there is no doubt that most businesses will have to make the jump to either Windows Vista or Windows 7 at some point, since Microsoft remains determined to kill off deployment of Windows XP on new machines. The only difference is that Microsoft had just drastically shortened the timetable for doing so.

Source: PC World, Computerworld

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