Want XP on a new Dell? You'll pay up to $50 extra for the aging OS
Vostro line gets surcharges; Latitude, OptiPlex, Precision get no-cost downgrades
Buyers of the low-priced Vostro line of desktops and notebooks will pay $20 to $50 more for Windows XP Professional installed as a "downgrade" from Windows Vista Business or Vista Ultimate than they would for Vista only.
To meet Microsoft Corp.'s June 30 end-of-availability deadline, Dell will stop pre-installing most versions of the seven-year-old operating system after tomorrow. However, it will still be able to ship PCs with XP by taking advantage of the downgrade rights built into Vista Business and Vista Ultimate. Downgrading lets Dell install Windows XP Professional in lieu of Vista, although the newer operating system is still shipped with the machine so that buyers can, if or when they want, transition from XP to Vista.
Vista Business and Vista Ultimate are the only generally-available editions that allow downgrades, and they can be downgraded only to Windows XP Professional. Under Microsoft's licensing terms, the less-expensive XP Home cannot be installed as a downgrade.
In late April, Dell was the first major computer maker to announce that it would downgrade Vista in order to continue installing XP after June 30. A few days later, Dell's global small and midsize business software manager, Jenni Doane, used a company blog to say that Dell would offer free downgrades on Latitude, OptiPlex and Precision systems but would charge what she termed a "small fee" on Vostro systems.
In fact, Dell has priced Windows XP downgrade options the same as Vista-only selections on its Latitude notebooks, OptiPlex desktops, and Precision desktops and notebooks.
Desktops and notebooks in the low-cost Vostro line, however, carry a downgrade surcharge, an examination of Dell's Web site revealed.
Adding Vista Business to a Vostro 1000 notebook, for example, costs an additional $99 above the price with the default operating system, Vista Home Basic. However, selecting the downgrade option -- Windows XP pre-installed and Vista Business installation media in the box -- costs $149. That's a $50 downgrade surcharge.
Downgrading from Vista Ultimate comes with a smaller add-on charge, although the Vista operating system selection itself is pricier. Adding Vista Ultimate to a Vostro 400 desktop, for instance, costs $149 more than the default Vista Home Basic; choosing to downgrade from Ultimate -- Windows XP pre-installed and the Vista Ultimate installation disc in the box -- costs $169, a surcharge of $20.
On its consumer PC site, Dell doesn't specify whether it is slapping downgrade fees on three systems that can be configured with XP: the 630 and 720 H2C desktops and the M1730 notebook, all of which are part of Dell's XPS high-end line. Dell has said that it will not offer downgrades for any "currently available Inspiron laptops and desktops." Inspiron is Dell's best-selling consumer brand name.
Dell did not respond to a call asking for more information about downgrade charges for its consumer PCs.
Although Microsoft will stop providing new XP licenses to computer makers after June 30 and will stop selling boxed copies of the operating system to retailers on that day as well, it has relaxed its own availability rules twice in the last two months for some hardware categories.
In April, it extended XP's availability until June 2010 for light and inexpensive subnotebooks such as the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO and the Asustek Eee PC. Two weeks ago, it did the same thing for a new class of low-cost desktops dubbed "net-tops."
Read more about Windows in Computerworld's Windows Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the... All Windows White Papers | Webcasts