Microsoft extends Windows XP downgrade rights until 2020
"Going forward, businesses can continue to purchase new PCs and utilize end-user downgrade rights to Windows XP or Windows Vista until they are ready to use Windows 7," LeBlanc added in his blog post.
The change impacts only consumers and businesses that don't subscribe to Software Assurance (SA) -- Microsoft's annuity-like upgrade guarantee program -- or those who purchase Windows through volume-licensing plans. Those companies already had downgrade rights from any edition, including Windows 7, to any previous version going as far back as Windows 95.
Other deadlines that Microsoft had previously scheduled for Windows remain in place. Computer manufacturers must stop installing Windows XP Home on netbooks as of Oct. 22, 2010, and they may sell PCs with Vista pre-installed only through Oct. 22, 2011.
Computer makers are also slated to stop offering factory-installs of XP Professional downgrades on PCs with Windows 7 Professional licenses after Oct. 22, 2010. That means Windows users who want to downgrade a Windows 7 system to XP must do it themselves starting Oct. 23 of this year.
It's unlikely that many Microsoft customers, even the largest corporations, will downgrade to XP as long as Microsoft allows. That's because the nearly-nine-year-old operating system falls off the support list for good in April 2014.
On Tuesday, Microsoft will supply the last-ever updates for Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), the 2004 upgrade that was superseded four years later by XP SP3.
However, some computer makers continue to sell new PCs with a factory-installed downgrade to Windows XP. Dell, for example, offers downgrades on some Latitude notebooks.
The practice was much more widespread when Microsoft marketed Windows Vista. Then, customers clamored for ways to return to XP after buying new PCs equipped with Vista, a rebellion that forced Microsoft to delay several times the end of XP availability to both large and smaller computer sellers.
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
- 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
- Microsoft retreats from XP's antivirus kill notice
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...
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- 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...
- 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,... All Windows White Papers | Webcasts