Microsoft extends Windows XP downgrade rights until 2020 [Update]

In an unusual move from Microsoft, the software giant announced that it will allow downgrade rights from Windows 7 to Windows XP Professional right up until 2020.

Microsoft originally stated that users could downgrade to Windows XP 18 months after the debut of Windows 7, or until Windows 7 SP1, which is just around the corner. However, the company changed its mind once again, offering customers the chance to downgrade from Windows 7 to Windows XP Professional until 2020, the entire lifecycle of Windows 7.

Any computer pre-installed with Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions will allow the downgrade to similar versions of Vista and XP, until Windows 7 lifecycle is discontinued in 2020. The decision to extend the downgrade rights comes the day before Windows XP SP2 support is officially ended.

“Our business customers have told us that the removing end-user downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional could be confusing,” said Brandon LeBlanc from The Windows Blog.

Retailers are still able to sell boxed versions of Windows Vista up until October 22, 2010, one full year after the release of Windows 7, and PCs preinstalled with Vista up until October 22, 2011.

Update:
Just to clarify the above information, Windows XP downgrade rights will only be available throughout the Windows 7 lifecycle. Windows 7 will continue to sell in retails stores one fully year after the next release of Windows, and upto two full years preinstalled on PCs. For instance, if Windows 8 releases on January 1, 2012, Windows 7 downgrade rights to XP will officially retire on January 1, 2014.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Skype fires back: Fring is lying

Next Story

Apple deleting Consumer Reports iPhone 4 discussions

98 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I really don't understand why people get so hot under the collar regarding O/S's. Mac OSX is basically an underdeveloped quirky version of Lunux, Windows 7 is Microsoft's (bloatware) attempt to move towards an OSX look and feel, while Linux pioneer custom GUI (I remember Caldera's 1994 Glass, which for an extremely young O/S was excellent).

I wonder how many people here whistling about Windows 7 paid for the O/S and how many have got a hacked / ripped off version. As for me, all my computers run multi boot (WinXP, Win2003, Win7, Win2008 and Hackint0sh). All my computers are set to default to WinXP, as that is the O/S I've paid for, and the one I prefer. My PC's vary between netbooks, medium and high end laptops and desktops. I find the performance of them all, about the same, regardless of the O/S I boot to. My reasons for detesting Windows 7 / 2008 is two fold.

1) The shear bloat of the latest Windows O/S
2) The nightmare of all the extra clicks to do simple "Admin" tasks.

Win7 is just Vista warmed over, anyone who says different has little knowledge of it's history

As for "Window 8", where does Micosoft go? If (over the years) you've read the insiders at MiniMicrosoft's blogs, you will know what a cleft stick they are in. Microsoft O/S is just one huge heap of spaghetti.

Wow! Unbelieveable.

I know XP is great, but even I have finally managed to ditch XP on all 7 of my machines. Would've NEVER left XP if Windows 7 wasn't as good as it is, because Vista flat out sucked!

cork1958 said,
Wow! Unbelieveable.

I know XP is great, but even I have finally managed to ditch XP on all 7 of my machines. Would've NEVER left XP if Windows 7 wasn't as good as it is, because Vista flat out sucked!

I did the exact same thing, i would not go back to XP, i never thought i would see that day..

Ok, so Microsoft is forced to keep this old geezer alive.

Let's just pray hardware manufacturers stop supporting it...SOON!

warwagon said,
by 2010 it will be a 20 year old OS. That's Crazy. Just like in 2015 Windows 95 will be 20 years old.

and what I was going to say to is XP is still a damn fine OS.

I think you meant by 2020 it would be 20 years old and, yes, it is a very good OS (with SP3 hehe). There's a chance XP will outlast 7.

warwagon said,
by 2010 it will be a 20 year old OS. That's Crazy. Just like in 2015 Windows 95 will be 20 years old.

Really? Windows XP came out in 1990? I did not know this.

People are making a bigger deal out of this than they need to. This is specifically about being able to downgrade an *OEM license* of Windows 7 to XP (or the OEM doing it themselves). Corporations who get Windows 7 under volume license agreements (which most sizeable corps do) have always been free to downgrade that license to XP, 2000, heck even NT4, and this has no expiration date.

They should let XP die as it's gonna be 19 years old when the downgrade rights expire and focus on making 8 64bit only. this is only going to give Linux more fire to play with wich it needs.

soldier1st said,
They should let XP die as it's gonna be 19 years old when the downgrade rights expire and focus on making 8 64bit only. this is only going to give Linux more fire to play with wich it needs.

funny it will be unsupported by 2014
how would went to install something that even the maker won't support

soldier1st said,
They should let XP die as it's gonna be 19 years old when the downgrade rights expire and focus on making 8 64bit only. this is only going to give Linux more fire to play with wich it needs.

Because of it's ignorant and cheap users cannot afford to upgrade anything. So it's users hinder the OS from going anywhere great. You probably won't see a solid 64bit only Windows until 2020 or probably never because it's users still think it should support XP for eternity. And tbh honest XP was/is a piece of crap OS. Ugly themes to bad design of it's overall use.

i think its a smart move. remember, they are allowing to downgrade to XP. however, once you are running windows 7 and with XP mode built in, there will be very few (i am looking at those lazy corp people) who will think of downgrading. if even one or two of those software dont work, anyone will clearly see the benefits of win7 and update other software to work fully under win7.

d4diesel said,
i think its a smart move. remember, they are allowing to downgrade to XP. however, once you are running windows 7 and with XP mode built in, there will be very few (i am looking at those lazy corp people) who will think of downgrading. if even one or two of those software dont work, anyone will clearly see the benefits of win7 and update other software to work fully under win7.
You do realize that by the time the company gets the computer it will most likely be running XP right? The downgrade is usually done by the OEM (though it can be done by the company too)

XP is dead for me, long time now. But I guess its right to extend some support for it, companies just don't want to upgrade, even though that will give them more security.

Last year I finally upgraded my dad's systems to Vista. I'm hoping to upgrade the systems to Windows 7 sometime next year. I am still waiting for proper complete versions of Microstation that run on Windows 7. Also, I must stick with 32bit, because my dad uses some apps that are 16bit, and 64bit Windows doesn't run them.

My company has 70k+ employees and is working to move to 7. They still have XP w/ IE6 however. Its simply a lengthy process to test all internal apps. Saavy users that visit Neowin won't have issues, but the average worker won't know how to do most things or find workarounds if needed.

My school just moved to Win7 over the summer and the same machines seem to run a lot faster and are a lot less aggravating to use. At work we are still on XP - I hate it so much that I bought a Macbook Pro for my work so I don't have to use my desktop. Companies are often not too quick to switch to the latest and greatest. My company probably will do that only after Win7 SP1 is released even though it works just fine already.

MS should let XP just die. It's basically a zombie already, way past its expiry date, gnawing the fleshy bits of frustrated IT workers all around the globe.

People are confused. This doesn't make Microsoft sell less. They still sell WIN7, customer can reload XP if they choose to do so

leo221 said,
People are confused. This doesn't make Microsoft sell less. They still sell WIN7, customer can reload XP if they choose to do so

Are people confused about that?

leo221 said,
People are confused. This doesn't make Microsoft sell less. They still sell WIN7, customer can reload XP if they choose to do so

I don't think anyone is confused about that.

Think MS shot themselves in the foot there.

My college STILL downgrades new computers to XP. Please just kill it already (except for XP mode of course).

Love all the clueless comments here.

This is not going to kill people or companies upgrading to Windows 7. Most companies/people will have bought new systems then which come with Win 7. So XP will be filtered out...just at a slower rate which is fine.

techbeck said,
Love all the clueless comments here.

This is not going to kill people or companies upgrading to Windows 7. Most companies/people will have bought new systems then which come with Win 7. So XP will be filtered out...just at a slower rate which is fine.

That's not quite how it works, right now most companies try to run a single OS at a time. AT my work when they purchase a new batch of PC they all end up with our XP image even though they originally came with Vista or Win7

Rudy said,
That's not quite how it works, right now most companies try to run a single OS at a time. AT my work when they purchase a new batch of PC they all end up with our XP image even though they originally came with Vista or Win7

As soon as we get our funding back, we are going to 7 right away. I start getting licenses with new PCs as soon as the new Windows version is available. So even tho we load an XP image, when we are ready to go Win 7, we will begin the upgrade process. I do the same thing for Office.

techbeck said,

As soon as we get our funding back, we are going to 7 right away. I start getting licenses with new PCs as soon as the new Windows version is available. So even tho we load an XP image, when we are ready to go Win 7, we will begin the upgrade process. I do the same thing for Office.

That's the point, in the early 2000's companies had a lot of money to spend on technology and spending money on OS upgrades that might not benefit the company made sense but not in the current economy

To be very honest, as much as I prefer OSX to Windows, I do feel that WinXP is the PERFECT OS for general use workstations deployed across a large business

Rudy said,
To be very honest, as much as I prefer OSX to Windows, I do feel that WinXP is the PERFECT OS for general use workstations deployed across a large business

Thats why they have the downgrade rights till 2020, but OSX is such an opposite OS when it comes to corporations. I hate OSX no offense but its just an OS that does not get it done for me Win 7 does get it, in terms of tasks and speed of getting stuff done for me. Win 7 is the way too go with businesses or Win 8, who knows.

Rudy said,
To be very honest, as much as I prefer OSX to Windows, I do feel that WinXP is the PERFECT OS for general use workstations deployed across a large business

Well, having worked with both Win XP and Win 7 in corporate environments, Win 7 is much better to work with (more responsive and better productivity).

neo158 said,
Well done Microsoft, you screwed up the best chance you had for businesses to upgrade to Windows 7!!!!!!

If no security updates are provided, none of the business will stay with XP SP2 and SP3...so obviously many IT team will eventually move to Win7..
Already the sales are good..so why to put "hard" line between business, if they are slowly moving too its fine for MS, since they know that its gonna give them revenue anyways.
People (read IT admins) who are clever will migrate to Win7 when new system arrives.

neo158 said,
Well done Microsoft, you screwed up the best chance you had for businesses to upgrade to Windows 7!!!!!!

Most corporation use Volume Licensing anyway, so they pay so much every year. Either way MS make money.

neo158 said,
Well done Microsoft, you screwed up the best chance you had for businesses to upgrade to Windows 7!!!!!!

Right, but if they didn't do this everyone rage saying OMFG MICROSOFT IS FORCING PEOPLE TO UPGRADE WHAT THE !@#$

This article may be a bit misleading, be interesting to see if there's clarifications.

It sounds like Microsoft extended downgrade rights to Windows XP for the life of Windows 7 (2020). However Microsoft kill date for new updates for Windows XP is 2014. So in 2014, XP will not have any new "patches".

If XP is extended to 2020 it may be for the purpose of Windows XP mode vs XP on physical machines.

etempest said,
This article may be a bit misleading, be interesting to see if there's clarifications.

It sounds like Microsoft extended downgrade rights to Windows XP for the life of Windows 7 (2020). However Microsoft kill date for new updates for Windows XP is 2014. So in 2014, XP will not have any new "patches".

If XP is extended to 2020 it may be for the purpose of Windows XP mode vs XP on physical machines.

XP mode on Win7 needs security , IE and bug fixes, firewall and anti-virus/malware/... application just like a desktop XP .

etempest said,

If XP is extended to 2020 it may be for the purpose of Windows XP mode vs XP on physical machines.

Don't forget that if XP mode gets a security update then XP also gets it since they are the same...

etempest said,
This article may be a bit misleading, be interesting to see if there's clarifications.

It sounds like Microsoft extended downgrade rights to Windows XP for the life of Windows 7 (2020). However Microsoft kill date for new updates for Windows XP is 2014. So in 2014, XP will not have any new "patches".

If XP is extended to 2020 it may be for the purpose of Windows XP mode vs XP on physical machines.

Well, Microsoft did not say they'll be supporting XP until 2020, they only said they will allow downgrade rights until then.

sviola said,
Well, Microsoft did not say they'll be supporting XP until 2020, they only said they will allow downgrade rights until then.

They will, they have no choice now.

Rudy said,

Don't forget that if XP mode gets a security update then XP also gets it since they are the same...

Doubt it. XP mode was never designed to be a full time OS, it's only for compatibility, and is only included in the Professional+ editions.

freedonX said,
10 years from now? That's pretty dumb. That's worse than giving NT4 support. OS security isn't something that should be taken slightly. Not even some Mainframe OS last that long. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS/390

Yes, luckily corporations dont use XP as mainframe OS but for Dektop Workstations, and as it is right now, unless you give them the money to buy the upgrade licenses from MS they'll stick with this OS for a bit longer. There is absolutely no reason for corporations to upgrade their employees workstations to Win 7.

freedonX said,
OS security isn't something that should be taken slightly.

In business environment, security is rarely at the workstation level.

thealexweb said,
The chances of Windows 7 becoming the new dominant OS have just shrunk.

You really have no clue what you are talking about.

ahhell said,

You really have no clue what you are talking about.
No he's right, while there's A LOT of home users most PCs are in enterprise settings and this means they might stick around with XP longer

ahhell said,

You really have no clue what you are talking about.

Well Windows 7 has had a while now and I have yet to see Windows 7 anywhere outside the home. Personally I haven't seen a single business even discussing upgrading, the general feeling is XP is still getting mainstream support so it just sin't necessary.

thealexweb said,
The chances of Windows 7 becoming the new dominant OS have just shrunk.

The chances of Linux becoming the new dominant OS has always been and always will be ZERO.

thealexweb said,
Well Windows 7 has had a while now and I have yet to see Windows 7 anywhere outside the home. Personally I haven't seen a single business even discussing upgrading, the general feeling is XP is still getting mainstream support so it just sin't necessary.
My company has rolled out Windows 7 to all of our conference rooms, and we'll all be getting Windows 7 on our desktops in a few short months.

thealexweb said,

Well Windows 7 has had a while now and I have yet to see Windows 7 anywhere outside the home. Personally I haven't seen a single business even discussing upgrading, the general feeling is XP is still getting mainstream support so it just sin't necessary.

Well, the last company I worked, had moved all computers to Windows 7. And the one I'm working in now, is finishing plataform testing (actually, from all corporate applications, only one has shown any compatibility issues) and is starting the adoption with new computer purchases or update cycles.

pezzonovante said,

The chances of Linux becoming the new dominant OS has always been and always will be ZERO.

I rather Linux not have a market shared than have idiot users turn Linux in to a piece of ****. I'm content with it not having a market share. you see how Windows is with idiot developers that cannot even create decent application that are localised.

By the way there are governments in Europe and even local where I live that use Linux for their businesses.

thealexweb said,

Well Windows 7 has had a while now and I have yet to see Windows 7 anywhere outside the home. Personally I haven't seen a single business even discussing upgrading, the general feeling is XP is still getting mainstream support so it just sin't necessary.

Really? Have you ever gone outside your apartment building, or or is that just what you want to believe?

ZekeComa said,

I rather Linux not have a market shared than have idiot users turn Linux in to a piece of ****. I'm content with it not having a market share. you see how Windows is with idiot developers that cannot even create decent application that are localised.

By the way there are governments in Europe and even local where I live that use Linux for their businesses.

Ha, that sounds amazingly like the kind of people who will listen to a music band if and only if not that many people know about it, and start hating it when it becomes popular.

That's a pretty bad excuse to cover up the fact Linux is going nowhere and never will. Just because some smalltime government is using it to run their server doesn't mean jack.

LiquidSolstice said,

Ha, that sounds amazingly like the kind of people who will listen to a music band if and only if not that many people know about it, and start hating it when it becomes popular.

That's a pretty bad excuse to cover up the fact Linux is going nowhere and never will. Just because some smalltime government is using it to run their server doesn't mean jack.

'

Naw I did date someone like that. Why because it's not made by Microsoft? Or you made because Linux actually gives you a choice and not locks you in to one thing only and pay an arm and a leg for it?

Personally I enjoy being able to choice between GNOME, KDE, XFCE for a Desktop Environment. And not have to worry about having to pay money for some feature that should have been there in the first place. Just because you don't see it as a business wise idea where you can sell your crappy applications that will can easily be replaced by open source applications.

I personally don't want to shell out outrages prices for something that is personally not worth it. I don't have a problem against apps that are out there to make a profit off of. But I don't want a bunch of stupid users coming around and it brings much more like on the windows platform expecting everything to be like Windows. "Please hold my crotch and my hand and show me the simplest way to do something". That's what you get with Windows and Mac OS X.

In Linux, I have the choice to customise every feature I want down the the bone. Have a great terminal that when it goes to full screen it actually covers the screen and not have done. Has a fairly better scripting language than cmd.exe. I don't have to have bloated VS that is just outrage price and if I want more I have to pay $799 when I can easily get it free myself with GCC and Qt or Gtkmm. Linux is about choice which Microsoft isn't unless you want to spend money for everything.

I love Linux the way it is. I don't want it to turn in to a crappy Let's hold your crotch and hand all the time I use it.

In my opinion, 2020 is just too far out. You can't move forward if you still "encourage" ppl to use "legacy" OSes and apps. What happens when Windows 8 comes out?

Damn! They totally should of set it for like 2012. XP blows, 7 is the way forward!
Although I think keeping Vista till October 2011 is ridiculous. Pull that **** from the shelf asap!

Purify said,
XP blows, 7 is the way forward!

I disagree. It has always been a very stable OS and dosn't break things that it's not compatible with. Windows 7 is good but XP was always the gold standard since Vista came out.

Quattrone said,
They should enforce the upgrade process to W7 and not wait until 2020 for companies to upgrade. Damn it.

Damn, vouch!

AJC. said,

I disagree. It has always been a very stable OS and dosn't break things that it's not compatible with. Windows 7 is good but XP was always the gold standard since Vista came out.

I disagree. I think XP was the gold standard for a very long time ago, but after 7 was released I think it became the "gold standard". Additionally it can only get better because pretty much everything is w7 compatible unlike vista was.

Quattrone said,
They should enforce the upgrade process to W7 and not wait until 2020 for companies to upgrade. Damn it.

I suppose you are going to front the money for all these companies to deploy across 10's of thousands of PCs and do testing with their software?

xendrome said,

I suppose you are going to front the money for all these companies to deploy across 10's of thousands of PCs and do testing with their software?

I can tell you for a fact that after trying to implement 7 in a corporate environment you are right. I work for a car dealer group with 9 different brands... And only the Honda brands have support for windows 7. Mercedes-Benz still recommends windows 2000 with IE6 because they haven't tested IE7 or 8 and haven't even upgraded their java runtime (1.5.06) which doesn't work on win 7. If I jumped the gun and upgraded completely to 7 I'd have 13 useless dealerships out of the 16 we have.

AJC. said,

I disagree. It has always been a very stable OS and dosn't break things that it's not compatible with. Windows 7 is good but XP was always the gold standard since Vista came out.

No way Andrew, Win 7 is just a more usable OS over Xp, yea its the gold standard from Vista but its not there anymore, its 7 and companies should start moving to it.

My company is going with a slow roll out of Windows 7. The network admins have had it on their laptops for a while, and the developers are getting it as they get new laptops, or if it's deemed necessary for testing purposes. Office users will start seeing it soon, and we're going with Windows 7 on the plant floor PCs as part of the next rollout of our manufacturing system.

From my point of view, corporate adoption of Windows 7 is already better than Vista, and will really pick up by year's end.

Regardless of MS's blunder, I can only pray that OEMs increase their pace of not supporting the older OS except in a few basic configurations.

Enterprise will still have a 5-7 year lifecycle on most PCs so the hardware will be refreshed and there is no reason they can't come up with a application solution in that timeframe. Anything less is damaging to IT as a whole.

Euphoria said,
Because none of the Corporations have switched to Win 7.
Smart decision for Microsoft.
+1

Win7 doesn't really offer too much for corporations right now. It's not like they have money to throw out the window right now either

Rudy said,
+1

Win7 doesn't really offer too much for corporations right now. It's not like they have money to throw out the window right now either

I disagree, I am a developer and at my last job, the company was using Win 7 64 bit and everything ran great and smoothly. I changed jobs and the new company uses Windows XP as their plataform (I was told Win 7 testing is almost closed - only one corporate application is not working yet) and it is just much worse than Win 7: it is slower, less responsive and less productive.

sviola said,

I disagree, I am a developer and at my last job, the company was using Win 7 64 bit and everything ran great and smoothly. I changed jobs and the new company uses Windows XP as their plataform (I was told Win 7 testing is almost closed - only one corporate application is not working yet) and it is just much worse than Win 7: it is slower, less responsive and less productive.

SO you type slower because of XP? I mean most programming is done by typing...I fail to see how XP could make you that much slower

Rudy said,
SO you type slower because of XP? I mean most programming is done by typing...I fail to see how XP could make you that much slower
You're one of those types that "programs" in Notepad, aren't you?

DVSBSTD said,
You're one of those types that "programs" in Notepad, aren't you?
No, I program in an IDE but you still need to TYPE code.... I know typing is overrated but it's usually required to program anything remotely complicated

Rudy said,
No, I program in an IDE but you still need to TYPE code.... I know typing is overrated but it's usually required to program anything remotely complicated
And IDEs and whatever other tools required are more likely to run better on 7.

Typing doesn't come into it.

OK. So for your job, 7 is better. For mine, it unfortunately is not. And... Win7 doesn't really offer too much for <most> corporations right now.

DVSBSTD said,
And IDEs and whatever other tools required are more likely to run better on 7.

Typing doesn't come into it.

Seriously I'd love to know HOW.... once you're in the program the OS doesn't change that much (I mean from XP to 7)

So I might not have the transparency in the title bar but I doubt it will make me work slower

Looks like you're grasping at straws here

Rudy said,
Seriously I'd love to know HOW.... once you're in the program the OS doesn't change that much (I mean from XP to 7)

So I might not have the transparency in the title bar but I doubt it will make me work slower

Looks like you're grasping at straws here


well I imagine he is compiling code as well and that would require a faster machine

sullysnet said,

well I imagine he is compiling code as well and that would require a faster machine
Exactly. Plus I notice Visual Studio and the add-on modules run better and faster. Whether you're compiling, running automated code reviews, running a designer, refactoring, etc.

sullysnet said,

well I imagine he is compiling code as well and that would require a faster machine
I'm not going to keep arguing because this is obviously going nowhere but XP supports any CPU that Win7 support

sviola said,

uses Windows XP as their plataform and it is just much worse than Win 7: it is slower, less responsive and less productive.

Those words could only be said by a microsoft marketing team staff member, or an idiot.
windows 7 is bulkier (don't even try to deny it and look stupid, XP = on CD, 7 = on 2 DVDs) and as so is NOT faster. Also, if it was faster then the current generation of windows embedded would be based off windows 7, and not xp (with some vista modifications in it).

n_K said,

Those words could only be said by a microsoft marketing team staff member, or an idiot.
windows 7 is bulkier (don't even try to deny it and look stupid, XP = on CD, 7 = on 2 DVDs) and as so is NOT faster. Also, if it was faster then the current generation of windows embedded would be based off windows 7, and not xp (with some vista modifications in it).

Wait what? Something that is bigger is not faster? According to that twisted logic, Windows 3.1 should be the fastest GUI OS out there, only Windows 1.0 could be faster. Not to mention 7 fits on 1 dvd, not 2.

Let's just throw out all the reports from people, from reporters, from tests that show Windows 7 is indeed faster, more stable and smoother overall than XP.

The current version of Windows Embedded is 7. And guess what, it is based of Windows 7.

/- Razorfold said,

Wait what? Something that is bigger is not faster? According to that twisted logic, Windows 3.1 should be the fastest GUI OS out there, only Windows 1.0 could be faster. Not to mention 7 fits on 1 dvd, not 2.

Let's just throw out all the reports from people, from reporters, from tests that show Windows 7 is indeed faster, more stable and smoother overall than XP.

The current version of Windows Embedded is 7. And guess what, it is based of Windows 7.

You have read the wrong reports. XP run rings around Win7 (on the same hardware) in performance. For Win7 to catchup with WinXP you'll need a DUAL-QUAD Core cpu with 8GB of memory.

ilev said,

You have read the wrong reports. XP run rings around Win7 (on the same hardware) in performance. For Win7 to catchup with WinXP you'll need a DUAL-QUAD Core cpu with 8GB of memory.

Amazing how on my dual core 2.2ghz with 2gb ram, windows 7 is noticeably faster in loading, has better system responsiveness, and programs load faster than when on windows XP. With my core i7 1.73ghz laptop with 6gb ram, 7 completely trashes XP (slightly biased since XP wouldn't be able to see more than 3gb ram, but its not like I was ever using more than 2 in one go anyway)

Not to mention since I've installed Vista / 7 on my laptops, the nvidia driver has crashed about 6 times with no bluescreen. On XP that would be 6 bluescreens and counting.