What Does It Take to Get a PC With XP?
The Official Word: Lenovo offers a helpful Web page that outlines its downgrade policies in detail. Specifically, it notes that anyone who purchases a machine that has Vista Business or Vista Ultimate installed on it may also purchase a bootable Windows XP recovery CD until January 31, 2009. "Fees may vary."
The Real Deal: In reality there is no fee. When configuring
The Official Word: Initially, Sony told me that it offered no XP downgrade options on its current crop of computer models. Just as we were going to press, however, the company confirmed that two new laptop series--the VAIO BZ and VAIO SR--will come with an XP downgrade option, with XP preinstalled by Sony at the customer's request.
The Real Deal: I called Sony before the company had announced the loopholes in its "No XP" policy, so I didn't expect much. Surprise: A rep told me that if I ordered either the VAIO TZ or the VAIO SZ laptop configured with Vista Business, Sony would ship it with a driver CD in the box that included everything needed to make the laptop work with XP. The rep said that Sony wouldn't provide or sell the XP disc itself, so I would be responsible for supplying the OS myself.
The Official Word: Officially, Asus says that it offers only "select Eee PC models" with XP preinstalled--specifically, the Eee PC 900, the Eee PC 901, and the Eee PC 1000, each of which enjoys special status under Microsoft's "ultra low-cost personal computer" exemption (for PCs in this category, Microsoft has promised to extend the availability of XP Home Edition all the way through June 30, 2010). The upcoming Eee Box "net top" box will run XP as well, according to Asus.
The Real Deal: When I asked an Asus