The Inquirer runs a story with the provocative title HP screws Presario buyers. The story, by Charlie Demerjian, charts his attempts to get HP to supply drivers for a Windows Vista-based HP/Compaq Presario. Is he just bashing Vista for the heck of it and expecting too much of HP to support XP on a system supplied with Vista or does he have a point?
Demerjian starts off with some background:
As is so common nowadays, people are buying PCs with Windows MeII installed and quickly realising how broken it is. What do they do? Rip it off. HP is going out of its way to make that problematic.
In its defence, HP has put out decent products for some time, and only recently has it started the task of cratering quality of service to milk the bottom line. Microsoft doesn't really care about customers as long as they are locked in, so its antics are no surprise, but HP playing along is a shock.
What is the problem? If you buy a new MeII based PC, and you want to install your copy of XP so things actually work, you can't, HP doesn't provide drivers. Look at the Compaq branded Presario SR2163WM, a thoroughly unremarkable Pentium 4 on an ATI 1100 machine, crapware infested.
In case you're wondering, MeII is how the article refers to Windows Vista.
Next, Demerjian posts transcripts of his chat conversation with an HP support technician. First off, Demerjian asks for XP drivers for his ATI graphics card, but isn't happy that HP pointed him to the ATI website instead of supplying HP drivers:
HP Employee: Okay, Charlie.
HP Employee: Yes, you are right.
HP Employee: I will search if original drivers are available . Please wait for 5 more minutes.
charlie demerjian: NP.
HP Employee: Thank you.
HP Employee: Thank you for the patience.
HP Employee: The link to download the graphics driver is :
HP Employee: http://ati.amd.com/support/drivers/xp/radeonx-xp.html
charlie demerjian: There is nothing provided by HP?
charlie demerjian: I can hunt down the divers for the components at the vendors web sites, but doesn't HP provide drivers for their own machines?
HP Employee: Charlie, the drivers for this model for windows XP has not been released .
Next, despite the HP support person seeming to be helpful and willing to search for drivers, Demerjian is more interested in knowing when official XP drivers for his system will be released by HP rather than getting his system working:
charlie demerjian: Does HP provide XP drivers for model SR2163WM?
HP Employee: Charlie, as I mentioned this computer is licensed to work with Windows Vista. However, the Windows XP drivers for the computer may be released at a later stage. I do not have a exact release date on when the drivers will become available at Hp website.
HP Employee: In the meantime, if you wish, I can try to search in the third party websites for the drivers that you can use with Windows XP retail installation on the computer.
charlie demerjian: Can you tell me if work is underway on this, it does not sound like it will ever happen.
charlie demerjian: The drivers on an XP CD are laughably old, to suggest that they will work on this machine is borderline ignorance.
charlie demerjian: I do realize you are reading from a script, but I would prefer a hard answer rather than a PR dodge.
charlie demerjian: No is an OK answer, I just need to know.
HP Employee: Charlie, I am not reading from any scripts. I am am giving you all the facts that I know.
HP Employee: Currently we do not have Windows XP driver for this computer. I am not aware of any releases for the Windows XP drivers for the computer
charlie demerjian: OK, that is what I need to know.
I just don't get what the problem is. You buy a system with one OS installed on it, expecting support for another OS is going above and beyond what you've paid for. If he wanted an XP-based system, he should have bought one. Expecting HP (or any other OEM) to support support any OS other than the one initially installed is expecting too much (unless the OS is an OEM-supplied upgrade).
What are your thoughts on this? Is this yet another example of Vista bashing or should HP provide XP drivers for Vista systems or should the owner have to take responsibility for any OS changes?