Microsoft [MSFT] has extended the Windows 7 deadline for users who want to downgrade their operating system to Windows XP until 2020. Users who are running some versions of Windows 7 will still have the option to downgrade to Windows XP for the next 10 years.
Microsoft had planned to remove this feature this year and many users would not have been able to downgrade after 2011, but have decided to extend it as many business still use Windows XP and want to standardize operating systems over all their computers.
To support our customers’ “unprecedented move” to migrate their PC environment to Windows 7, we have decided to extend downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional beyond the previously planned end date at Windows 7 SP1. This will help maintain consistency for downgrade rights throughout the Windows 7 lifecycle. As a result, the OEM versions of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate will continue to include downgrade rights to the similar versions of Windows Vista or Windows XP Professional.
This is a smart move by Microsoft, as Windows XP is still wideley used by businesses, and if they had removed the option forcing businesses who wanted to keep their OS standard across all machines to upgrade to Windows 7 they could have alienated a number of business customers.