Microsoft has long offered the option to downgrade a Windows license and replace newer versions of its operating system with an older edition. This, however, gained notoriety with Windows Vista following numerous complaints from disgruntled users and computer makers actually advertising machines that were pre-downgraded to XP. Microsoft hopes to change this with Windows 7 - if early reviews are anything to go by it probably will - but it does plan to keep offering users a downgrade option.

In fact, Microsoft and its PC partners are going to allow Windows 7 users to downgrade not just to Vista but also to Windows XP. The company claims this is not the first time it has offered downgrade rights to a version other than its immediate predecessor, and clarified that selling XP to OEMs doesn't necessarily mean it will continue to be supported. Microsoft is still expected to end mainstream support for the OS on April 14 and provide only security updates beyond that date. Downgrades will still cost interested consumers, presumably, as the software giant hasn't detailed exactly how downgrade rights will work with Windows 7.