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HP blocks Windows 7 downgrades on consumer-oriented PCs

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.

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