Windows Vista Downgrade Service & XP End of Life

News is all over the internet these days on the impending end of Windows XP, which brings on the inevitable transition to Windows Vista, Microsoft’s newest OS. We’ve heard Small Businesses say they’re not ready to adopt Vista yet due to compatibility issues, uncertainty about Vista stability/ease of use, hardware requirements, etc. In fact, many of you have even signed the *** to give XP a stay of execution. We recognize that many businesses aren’t ready to make the transition yet and that supporting multiple OS’s can be demanding, especially for companies with limited IT resources. For those of you considering making the leap, I recommend this article from Brad Patten, a Small Business consultant and blogger. Brad lays out some important items to consider, the most important of which is verifying that any software or hardware that is key to running your business is Vista compatible. If compatibility is not an issue for you, then you may want to consider making the switch. The release of Service Pack 1 (SP1) has made Vista faster and more stable, and for laptop users, SP1 even offers improved battery life.

For those of you who still aren’t ready to make the leap, but think you might want to one day, Dell Small Business is now offering Vista Business and Vista Ultimate with Downgrade Service free on Latitude, Optiplex and Precision, and for a small fee on Vostro systems. With this service, we exercise your downgrade rights for you and factory-install XP Professional on your system while shipping you a CD for XP and a DVD for Vista. This way, you get the OS you’re comfortable with using now along with rights to upgrade to Vista when you’re ready, which offers investment protection for the future. When you’re ready to migrate to Vista, simply use the Vista DVD provided to run the install.

This service is not available on Vista Home Basic (to XP Home) or Vista Home Premium (to Media Center Edition) due to Microsoft rules around the program; Microsoft does not offer downgrades to anything other than XP Professional. We will continue to offer this service after June 18 for as long as Microsoft supports the program. June 18 is the last day that Dell will sell XP without going through Downgrade Service, and the last day for XP Home in any form at Dell. We cannot ship XP systems outside of the downgrade program after June 30. Check out for more details on both the end of XP and the Windows Vista Downgrade Service.

If you’re wondering how to select the Downgrade Service when you’re customizing your Dell system in the US, simply select the option titled Genuine Windows Vista Business Bonus or Genuine Windows Vista Ultimate Bonus. Click on the image below for a larger version:

Do you have questions on the Downgrade Service from Dell? How about comments on the end of XP and the transition to Vista? Feel free to comment below.

About the Author: Jenni Doane