Dell to Stop Offering Windows XP Downgrades

Dell has announced via a blog post that it would be phasing out Windows XP on its new computers this month, ahead of Microsoft’s October 22 deadline. The company suggested that customers still needing to run Windows XP applications do so using Windows 7′s XP Mode feature.

Microsoft reminded customers in June that Windows XP would not be offered as a preinstalled OS after October 22, though customers still have the right to manually downgrade to Windows XP throughout the new OS’s lifecycle. This loophole primarily benefits businesses without Microsoft volume licenses who are still unready to leave Windows XP.

Of course, these downgrade rights are only useful if the new machines are properly supported with drivers – many consumer laptops have gone without official XP drivers since Windows Vista’s release in 2006. Dell assured customers that it would continue to offer driver support for XP through 2012.

From the blog post;

Per Microsoft guidelines regarding Windows XP, system vendors like Dell will no longer be able to ship systems with XP Professional and XP Home after October 22, 2010. This means that we will stop offering XP as an option for customers starting this month in preparation for next month’s deadline. One other important thing to note is that Dell plans to continue Windows XP driver support until December 2012.

After the October 22 date, qualified customers will still be able to get systems with Windows XP, through Dell’s Custom Factory Integration service. Otherwise, customers who order new machines with Windows 7 Professional or higher can run XP applications in Windows XP Mode.

This move probably makes the most sense for Dell from a business perspective – Windows XP support is beginning to dry up rapidly. Microsoft’s Windows Live Essentials Wave 4 applications will be available for Windows Vista and Windows 7 only, as will the upcoming Internet Explorer 9. Most third-party software vendors are predicted to drop support for Windows XP well before 2014, when Microsoft plans to stop releasing security updates for the OS.

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