Before I start this article, let me just say this. I am somewhat unsure of the total accuracy of what some are saying on the Internet, about users rights to either Upgrade or Downgrade their copy of Windows Vista.  I believe the reason for some of the confusion is because we users would be dealing with two different entities.

First we have Microsoft, which according to their licensing, does appear to allow users to either upgrade or downgrade, and provides the guidelines in which to do this. But the most important player in the game is your OEM. If you upgrade or downgrade, will the procedure void your warranty? It appears that each company has some type of policy in place that covers the subject. So in my travels, I located this from a Vista forum by a fellow MVP:

General information about replacing Vista with XP:

A. On an OEM (HP, Sony, etc.) computer:

1. Go to the OEM’s website and look for XP drivers for your specific model
computer. If there are no XP drivers, then you can’t install XP. End of
story. If there are drivers, download them and store on a CD-R or USB
thumbdrive; you’ll need them after you install XP.

2. Check with the OEM – either from their tech support website or by calling
them – to see if you will void your warranty if you do this. If you will
void the warranty, you make the decision.

3. If the OEM does support XP on the machine, call them and see if you can
have downgrade rights and have them send you an XP restore disk. This will
be far the easiest and best way of getting XP on the machine.

4. If XP is supported on the machine but the OEM doesn’t have an XP restore
disk for you, understand that you’ll need to purchase a retail copy of XP
from your favorite online or brick/mortar store.

5. Also understand that you will need to do a clean install of XP so if you
have any data you want, back it up first.

6. If none of the above is applicable to you because you can’t run XP on
that machine (see Item #1 above), return the computer and purchase one
running XP instead.

B. On a generic/home-built computer (from non-OEM company) – You will need
drivers for all your hardware. See the second link below for more details: – Clean Install How-To…alling_Windows – What
you will need on-hand


Elephant Boy Computers
Don’t Panic!

I believe this is sound advice. Contacting the OEM is a good step. I would also think that having something in writing from the OEM, may also be useful. By this I mean, that just taking the word of some tech., may not hold up, if the OEM states the tech was wrong. I would want something from the OEM’s web site that supports what is covered and what is not, before I did a upgrade or downgrade. Voiding a warranty is risky enough.

What do you think? Have you done an upgrade or downgrade of Vista? Share your experience with us.

Comments welcome.