Windows 7 SP1 means end of XP downgrade rights
Microsoft's work on SP1 means 'clock is ticking' on demise of rights, says analyst
Computerworld - The clock is ticking on the demise of some downgrade rights for Windows 7, an analyst said Thursday.
Last year, Microsoft said that customers could downgrade new machines purchased with Windows 7 Professional to the older Windows XP Professional for a limited period. The deal ends 18 months after the introduction of Windows 7 -- in other words, in late April 2011 -- or when Microsoft launches Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1), whichever comes first.
Nearly two months ago, Microsoft acknowledged it's working on Windows 7 SP1. It has not yet set a release timetable, however.
"So the clock is ticking down on that offer, after which time the only option for non-Software Assurance customers to deploy Windows XP is to use Windows XP Mode," said Al Gillen, an analyst with IDC, referring to Windows 7 Professional's built-in virtualized version of Windows XP.
Corporations that subscribe to Software Assurance (SA) -- MIcrosoft's annuity-like upgrade guarantee program -- or purchase Windows through volume licensing plans have downgrade rights from any edition, including Windows 7, to any previous version going as far back as Windows 95.
Calling SP1 an "important milestone for customers" because of the impending end of downgrade-to-XP rights, Gillen noted that the service pack will have relatively little impact on enterprise plans to deploy the new operating system.
"Historically, classic customer deployment behavior for new Windows client operating systems was to wait for the first service pack to arrive," Gillen said in a research note published yesterday.
"The Windows patching process ... has changed the rules of the game for many customers," Gillen argued. "The continuous stream of patches, over time, delivers a significant portion of service pack content."
Recent surveys conducted by IDC with IT professionals and end users showed that budget limitations and application compatibility were the biggest concerns about migrating to Windows 7, not the lack of a service pack.
Although Microsoft originally wanted to limit Windows 7-to-Windows XP downgrade rights to just six months after the release of the former, it quickly backtracked last June after another analyst, Michael Silver of Gartner Research, called the plan a "real mess." Instead, said Microsoft, it would allow downgrades to Windows XP until 18 months went by, or until it released Windows 7 SP1.
Although consumers may have little reason to want to downgrade Windows 7 -- the operating system has received favorable reviews and by all accounts has been a huge success -- businesses often want to standardize on a single operating system edition to simplify machine management.
Several major computer makers continue to sell new PCs with a factory-installed downgrade to Windows XP from Windows 7. Dell, for example, offers downgrades on some Latitude notebooks as well as its Vostro line of business desktops.
Once Microsoft releases Windows 7 SP1, customers will be able to downgrade only to Vista Business.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Windows XP lives
- Perspective: Microsoft risks security reputation ruin by retiring XP
- Update: Microsoft reacts to XP upgrade critics with free file transfer tool
- No special treatment for China on XP, patches end April 8 in the PRC, too
- Microsoft misjudges customer loyalty with kill-XP plea
- Users mock Microsoft for asking their help on XP-to-Windows 8.1 upgrades
- Backlash slaps Microsoft's 'help-a-friend-dump-XP' plea
- Perspective: Microsoft asks for volunteers to join its kill-XP army
- Users postpone ditch-XP decision as Windows 8 runs to stay in place
- Microsoft retains weapon to silently scrub XP
- Microsoft will furnish malware assassin to XP users until mid-2015
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...
- Is Your Big Data Solution Production-Ready? Read "Is Your Big Data Solution Production-Ready?" now, and discover best practices and actionable steps to implementing a production-ready big data solution.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Windows White Papers | Webcasts