Shopping for a new computer but want Windows XP installed instead of Windows Vista? You’re in luck as many manufacturers offer Windows XP Pro as an option on at least some of their computers. You won’t find XP pre-installed on systems in retail stores however – it’s only available through system manufacturers directly or through online or mail order companies.
The Shifting Fate of Windows XP
Why are there no computers with Windows XP in retail stores? Microsoft initially discontinued the sales of Windows XP in June 2008 and retail stores shifted to selling only systems with the newer Windows Vista operating system. Microsoft’s initial position was that XP had reached the end of its planned life span and it would not be available in any flavor, anywhere.
As the levels of protests rose, especially from the business community, Microsoft shifted its position and has allowed manufacturers to continue to make both Windows Vista and Windows XP Pro available pre-installed on systems for businesses. In reality, sales of most these systems are not actually limited to business clients but are also available to consumers.
Manufacturers list their new systems with Windows Vista and then refer to the Windows XP Pro option as a “Downgrade” from Vista. Regardless of the terminology, the end result is that you receive a system with Windows XP Pro pre-installed and an option to “upgrade” to Windows Vista at no charge at some later date. Some manufacturers, such as Dell, ship CDs/DVDs for both Vista and XP with their systems if you choose the “Downgrade” option.
Availability and Cost of Windows XP
A quick spot check of the web sites of HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba show that most offer some systems with XP Pro installed. The exception is HP which lists only Windows Vista available on their systems. For other manufacturers you need to check specific models or product lines to see if XP Pro is available.
Most manufacturers also charge extra for the downgrade option. The cost varies depending on the version of Vista which you are selecting to downgrade. Cost of the downgrade can run as much as $149 or as little as $0 per computer. Only XP Pro is available for the downgrade option.
XP, Vista or Perhaps Windows 7
If you are ready to purchase a new computer but are still hesitant about moving to Windows Vista, you do have some options available with Windows XP. You just won’t be able to find new computers with Windows XP pre-installed at retail stores. From a longer term perspective if you stick with Windows XP long enough you may not have to move to Windows Vista at all, you may be able to make the jump directly to Windows 7 when it begins shipping later this year.