Exclusively with laptops carrying Vista Business or Ultimate editions

Microsoft hand out XP to Vista haters

Buyers of laptops with Vista Business or Ultimate editions installed will find they have the option to downgrade to XP as part of a scheme that Microsoft would prefer to be kept quiet.

Even though the company is pushing the Vista operating system hard, it has made an announcement via the Lenovo website, which sheepishly states that: "For a limited time only Lenovo customers that have Windows Vista Business or Ultimate installed on their machines will have the chance to purchase a Windows XP Recovery CD."

Fujitsu, however, has taken disgruntled Vista users a bit too seriously and will be compensating by including a copy of Windows XP in the box with their laptops and tablets.

"That’s going to help out small- and medium-size businesses," Fujitsu marketing manager Brandon Farris told CNET News.com.

Hewlett Packard will also begin a program in August for several of its business models. "For business desktops, workstations and select business notebooks and tablet PCs, customers can configure their systems to include the XP Pro restore disc for little or no charge," HP spokeswoman Tiffany Smith said in an e-mail. She said it was too soon to gauge how high customer interest has been. "Since we’ve only been offering (it) for about a month, we don’t really have anything to share on demand."

Microsoft has confirmed that changes have been made to Vista to allow customers to easily downgrade to XP. Previously it would have been very difficult to do so. Microsoft noted in a statement that neither it nor the PC makers are "obligated to supply earlier versions to end users under the end user licensing terms."

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