Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Beating Microsoft's XP ban
Every where I look, people are having problems with Vista. My parents' computer has had a malfunctioning Internet Explorer for months. (They've been using FireFox, but certain tools they use require IE.) Even my co-workers at dealnews, who are a rather tech savvy lot, are having issues - one just recently lost an afternoon to a bug with Vista, FireFox, and our custom back end. And that's just the tip of the iceberg - the Internet is full of horror stories, gripes, and general disgust with Vista.
With all of these issues, you'd assume that you'd still be able to order a system with a stable, tried-and-true operating system such as Windows XP Home. (While XP definitely has its share of issues, most of them are known and are easily fixable.) However, on June 30, Microsoft essentially killed off XP Home, ending its sale through computer manufacturers such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Several loopholes exist, such as the availability of XP Home on UMPCs such as the ASUS Eee PC, and the "downgrade rights" included with the purchase of Vista Business or Ultimate. But for those people who need something more powerful than a subnotebook, or can't bear the thought of spending $150 or more to upgrade from Vista Home Basic to Vista Business or Ultimate, just to downgrade it to XP Professional, there isn't much of an option.
Or so I thought ...
I'm in the market for a beater computer for my Huntsville office and I've had nothing but good luck with Dell so far. While checking out a deal on its site recently, I ended up in the Dell Outlet. There - staring right at me - was an Inspiron system with XP Home pre-installed. Sure, it was a factory-refurb, but it still had a one-year Dell warranty. After a little digging around, I discovered a treasure trove of XP Home and Pro systems, with prices starting at $229. Of course, that miserly sum scored a miserly system, however - Sempron, 512MB RAM - the dregs, essentially. But there were loads of decent systems, too, with prices heading north of the $2k mark. I'll definitely be able to find something at a decent price point and put off the dreaded Vista upgrade for a few years to come.
As of the time of this post, there were 47 Inspiron desktops available with XP Home, as well as 114 Dimension desktops with XP Professional. So, if you're looking to score a new(ish) system with XP, it's worth taking a gander at Dell Outlet.