Microsoft has agreed to allow Windows 7 customers to downgrade not just to Vista but also to XP.
The software firm confirmed it had planned downgrade rights for XP when Windows 7 shipped, which is expected later this year.
"Microsoft will be offering an n-2 downgrade option with Windows 7 to help customers plan their migrations from XP. An XP downgrade from Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate will be available until six months after General Availability," a Microsoft spokesman told The Register.
The confirmation followed an AppleInsider report that emerged over the weekend claiming HP would offer Windows 7 users the option to downgrade to XP, even though mainstream support for the operating system is set to expire next week.
It also claimed Redmond and HP had tied up downgrade rights from October this year and 30 April 2010. However, Microsoft has declined to comment on specific dates, presumably to avoid letting the cat out of the bag about when Windows 7 might land.
Microsoft told ZDNet the XP downgrade agreement it had struck with HP was the same deal the company has in place with its other main OEM pals.
“Since the End User right to Windows XP Professional is part of the license terms for these editions, it’s really about making facilitation options easier for our OEM customers and End Users,” said Microsoft.
“This is not the first time that Microsoft has offered downgrade rights to a version other than its immediate predecessor and our volume-license customers can always downgrade to any previous version of Windows,” added MS.
Which suggests that OEMs could roll back the OS clock further to Windows 2000 or even Windows 1995. ®