Though many still protest, the June 30th deadline for Windows XP availability remains. As a result, many vendors, such as industry giant Dell, won't be pre-installing XP on new systems. That doesn't mean that XP will be unavailable on a Dell system, however. The company has opted to offer installing XP as a service, and will charge customers $50 to downgrade a new rig from Vista to XP before it ships out. For some, the $50 fee might be acceptable to avoid tangoing with Vista for the time being. For others, however, it's too much – and for many, it wouldn't even be an option. Machines sold with any iteration of Vista Home aren't eligible to have XP installed on them.
Dell isn't charging across the board, however. It is primarily in their lower-cost bracket that sees a fee attached, with the more expensive OptiPlex and Latitude systems having it as a “free” option when ordering. As the lower priced systems will require upgrades for Vista in order to downgrade, it will often raise their price tag considerably. First the machine must be sold with a more expensive version of Vista in order to qualify for a downgrade – and then the fee is applied for downgrading. Upgrading in order to downgrade. Very interesting, but certainly not fun.