Dell Brings Windows XP Back to the Future

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Responding to strong customer demand, computer maker Dell has announced it will once again offer Windows XP as an operating system option on a selection of desktop and notebook computers. The announcement comes after Dell’s customer feedback site was flooded with more than 10,000 customer requests for the return of Windows XP. “We heard you loud and clear on bringing the Windows XP option back to our Dell consumer PC offerings.”

According to Dell, customers can immediately choose to have either Window XP Home or Windows XP Pro pre-installed on four Inspiron notebook systems (the 1405, 1501, 1505, and 1705 models) and Dell’s Dimension E520 and E521 desktop computers.

Like most PC makers, Dell transitioned the bulk of its product line to Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system when it was released to consumers last January. By the end of March, Dell was only offering consumers two systems pre-configured with the older Windows XP, although it was still offering XP as an option to business customers.

The move comes shortly after Dell announced it would begin offering Linux as a pre-installed operating system option on selected models.

Although the consumer market is typically hungry for the latest and greatest operating system release for their computers, Dell’s move would seem to indicate a significant minority of the Windows customer base still prefers the older Windows XP to the brand-new Vista. Typical reasons cited for preferring Windows XP over Vista are driver compatibility with unusual or older peripherals like scanners, cameras, and printers, and sheer familiarity: setting up Grandma with a new machine is tough enough without changing the location, look, and feel of the operating system.

Dell won’t be able to offer Windows XP on new PCs forever: last week Microsoft announced it would stop selling Windows XP licenses to computer makers in January 2008.

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