HP blocks Windows 7 downgrades on consumer-oriented PCs
Posted on 9 Nov 2012 at 09:59, by Gareth Halfacree
HP's PC arm has announced that it is focusing heavily on Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system on its consumer-level PCs, refusing to provide software or support to those choosing to downgrade their systems to the last-generation Windows 7.
Microsoft's latest Windows operating system, Windows 8, is proving divisive: while under-the-hood improvements provide enhanced security, better performance and features to protect data, the Modern UI - previously known as Metro UI, and based on the same user interface as the Windows Phone platform - continues to perplex with its focus on touch-screen devices rather than traditional keyboard-and-mouse computing.
As a result, many users are choosing to stick with the tried-and-tested Windows 7, but those buying a new computer from HP will not be given the same choice.
While HP will support downgrade users on its business-oriented product lines, the company has officially stated that it will not do the same for consumer products. "Windows 7 will not be supported on these new [PC] platforms, and no drivers, apps, or Windows 7 content will be available through HP," the company has declared through its support service.
"If users choose to downgrade their HP consumer desktop or notebook system, HP will continue to support the hardware but if there is an issue where HP diagnostics are required or it is determined that the loaded software or upgrade operating system is causing the issue, HP may suggest returning the system to the original Windows 8 OS that shipped with the computer."
The move echoes that of Microsoft itself, which provides a license that covers the user for previous-generation incarnations of Windows - including Windows 7 - with its Windows 8 Pro product, but does not provide the same support for those running the basic Windows 8 release. HP's refusal to provide drivers or applications compatible with Windows 7, however, goes a step further by preventing the user from purchasing a Windows 7 licence separately from the computer.
HP shooting themselves in the foot
This is a bad move. They are already losing sales to the likes of lenovo and samsung. So pretty much dictating which operating system consumers can use on new machines to obtain any kind of support is going to drive more customers away. I can imagine the support call now. What operating system are you using? Windows 7? You need to do a factory reset or we can't help you because that you have 'damaged' your pc yourself by changing the default setup. End of call plus one seriously annoyed customer.
By mr_chips on 9 Nov 2012
I agree that it's unfair to force change amongst average users. At the same time I also agree that we should encourage change/improvement. I think the best move for HP is dedicate the majority of their support towards Win8 but still have a level of support for those who wish to use Win7. I'm not sure how many would actually buy a Win8 device and decide they want to downgrade, usually most consumers these days will know what they're buying and stick to it. There is always that risk that people will want to downgrade but not have the support afterwards. I can't see there being a massive risk though. As long the person downgrading actually knows what they're doing.
By DanMak on 9 Nov 2012
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