June 30 marks the day PC makers will no longer be able to sell Windows XP-based PCs. After that, love it or hate it, Vista will be the only Windows flavor available for most computer buyers - well, sort of.

Dell, for instance, has added a few systems to its XP lineup which customers will be able to order until June 18. But while XP soon will disappear as a retail option, it will likely continue to be available for a while longer. You see, Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Business come with downgrade rights, which computer makers such as HP, Acer, Lenovo and Dell are taking advantage of to offer machines that either are "factory downgraded" to XP or ship with an XP downgrade CD.

The downgrade option would of course mean having to sacrifice the cost of the more expensive Vista license, but the mere fact that manufacturers are offering ways to avoid Vista confirms how wounded Microsoft's latest operating system is from a public perception standpoint.