NEC launches Vista downgrade product

NEC launches Vista downgrade product

Summary: The manufacturer has officially launched a product to downgrade Vista machines to XP, to meet customer demand


The Japanese computer supplier NEC has officially launched a product to let network administrators downgrade machines running Windows Vista to XP.

The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) first made the product, NEC FlexLoad, available to customers on 25 January. However, the product was officially launched on Tuesday.

Customers with a Vista licence can purchase the two-DVD pack for £7, according to David Newbould, NEC UK's product marketing manager. The first DVD sets up a partition on the hard drive and installs core XP files and drivers, while the second DVD installs the remaining XP files in the partition, said Newbould.

NEC recommends that customers burn a Vista recovery CD before installing the XP partition.

From June, OEMs can no longer supply machines with XP as the operating system, said Newbould, yet customers still want to buy machines running XP.

"From June on, we can only ship Vista, but the market requires XP" said Newbould. "A lot of [larger] customers want to stay with XP for now, as it's a difficult task to migrate [a lot of machines]."

Newbould added that a percentage of customers see no need to move to Vista, as XP serves their needs adequately, and XP will be supported on the current Microsoft roadmap until 2012.

"We do have some customers who are very happy with XP and see [no need] to move to Vista at the moment," said Newbould. "XP is a well-established platform for customers to operate from."

NEC customers purchasing machines in bulk can also request that NEC preinstall the XP partition on their machines. Newbould said that NEC FlexLoad falls entirely within the Vista download policy, and so NEC did not have to negotiate with Microsoft when the OEM developed the software.

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In November last year, analyst firm Gartner told's sister site that businesses had no appetite for Vista, while analyst firm Ovum agreed that uptake had been slow. "It's taking a bit longer than expected with business take-up," said David Bradshaw, analyst at Ovum. "Realistically, it's a major cost for businesses and businesses really, really need to see the benefit first. And that benefit [regarding Vista] isn't going to emerge completely for a year or two."

Computer giant Dell also offers customers the choice to downgrade to XP, with its Dell XP Pro install disc.

"Dell is committed to offering customers a choice of operating systems, so they can select the one that is best suited to their needs," said Dell in a statement.

Topic: Operating Systems

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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  • But I assume you're still paying for a Vista licence...

    ...if not, Vista should be removed so it can't be used (but then you wouldn't need a separate partition for XP).

    If you are paying for Vista and you don't ever use it you're essentially throwing the licence away. Then Microshaft won't care because they're still getting the money and the Vista sales statistics.

    This is exactly why an open choice of OS should be mandatory for all PC purchases.
  • Vista downgrade

    You are absolutely correct! OS choice should be the consumer's choice, not a monopolistic company in Redmond. Computer manufacturers should be allowed to ship PCs with no OS pre-installed. That is exactly the reason I build my own, for myself and friends. That is also one of the reasons I run Linux, as I am able to run the highest hardware requirement version on the same box as a minimalistic version without any loss in performance.
  • Licence

    I think you misunderstand. For
    The Former Moley
  • Hmm, yes you're right... can install both and switch between them (dual-boot I suppose), but allowing two copies of Windows on one machine with only one licence? Isn't that a bit of a step backwards from the standard M$ licence policy?

    And remember that you're still being forced to pay for a Vista licence and only using XP, so the point regarding false statistics and sales reports still applies. You're not getting a good deal, you're losing out.