Microsoft officially withdrew Windows XP from marketing as of June 30. However, there are still ways to obtain XP if you are buying a new PC or laptop.
While XP is no longer available in retail channels, Microsoft has made provisions for a “downgrade” option. In this scenario, you purchase a new system with a license for Windows Vista, and you are allowed to install XP in its place. You’ll pay a small penalty, but it’s all good and legal.
Unfortunately, vendor policies are not consistent. Most vendors offer a downgrade option, but you must purchase a designated “business” model as opposed to a home PC. Some will preload XP for you, others have you install it yourself. And at least one vendor (Gateway) no longer offers XP at all.
Christopher Null of PC World has saved me a lot of research. He documented his efforts to purchase an XP system from each of the nine biggest PC makers. Follow the link to read the results:
“What Does It Take To Get a PC with XP?”
In other news, Microsoft has promised to continue to support Windows XP through 2014, so it looks like those of us who have rejected Vista will be taken care of for a while.