Alert: Problems With Windows XP Downgrades

Many people are experiencing difficulty exercising their Windows XP downgrade options on new machines.

Since the June 30 cutoff date, Microsoft no longer ships Windows XP on new machines. If you want to run Windows XP, you must obtain a Windows Vista machine with “downgrade” option – which usually involves installing Windows XP from an included set of CDs.

However, there seems to be trouble with this process. I have experienced downgrades that did not include a valid Windows XP serial number, as described on this blog concerning HP dx2450 microtower PCs. In this instance, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that HP does not have the correct driver software for this model on their web site. Other PC manufacturers and models are also affected by poorly executed downgrades.

Before purchasing a computer with “downgrade to Windows XP” option, check with your vendor to find out the details. You may be in for a bigger headache than dealing with Vista.


  1. BoredSysAdmin says:

    Thanks for mention of my blog, Tiona. However I’d like to point out that my article concerted issues with HP didn’t provide drivers for the downgrade to XP. Microsoft Licensing issues are another topic. My company uses Volume Licensing Key for Windows XP so I didn’t had to look around or it or beg HP (and NO, don’t ask me for it – I can get fired/arrested for it)

  2. Thanks for the clarification. In my case I was configuring a machine for a client who needed Windows XP because her software is not yet compatible with Vista. Thankfully I was able to obtain a legal XP serial number, despite HP’s lack of help – they expected us to wait weeks for new recovery CDs.

    The drivers issue is another problem. None of the CDs included with the HP dx2450 contained the correct XP LAN drivers for the system. In the interests of time I ended up installing a 3Com 10/100 NIC – at least I had the drivers for it!

    The downgrade procedure isn’t something that a consumer is going to be able to handle on their own – something the computer vendors may not tell you.

    BSA – I’d never ask you for your XP serial, we abide by licensing rules around here! It was fortunate your company had the volume license. Most consumers or small businesses won’t have that option.

    Thanks for your response!

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