Hewlett-Packard is telling consumers not to put Windows 7 on a new Windows 8 PC.
However the good news is that it doesn't affect the customer most likely to do this: enterprises.
Companies that buy HP's "commercial desktop or notebook products" can go ahead on wipe Windows 8 out and use Windows 7 instead, HP says.
That's critically important. Most enterprises are in no hurry to upgrade their organizations to Windows 8. Enterprises are notoriously slow to adopt new operating systems, and in this case, many of them have only recently moved to Windows 7.
But they may still need to buy some new PCs. When that happens, corporate customers will execute the right they have to downgrade the operating system to an earlier version. Microsoft's enterprise license agreements allow them to use any supported operating system, and Microsoft gets paid the same.
This is how so many companies can still be using Window XP even though sales of new PCs with XP stopped in 2010. Microsoft will support the latest version of XP, an operating system which came out in 2001, until April 8, 2014.
But if the PC wasn't sold under one of those big-business licenses, buyer beware. Here's the warning:
HP does not recommend downgrading on any HP consumer desktop and notebook products. After October 26, 2012, HP consumer desktop and notebook products will ship only with Windows 8. Windows 7 will not be supported on these new platforms, and no drivers, apps, or Windows 7 content will be available through HP. If users choose to downgrade their HP consumer desktop or notebook system, HP will continue to support the hardware but if there is an issue where HP diagnostics are required OR it is determined that the loaded software or upgrade operating system is causing the issue, HP may suggest returning the system to the original Windows 8 OS that shipped with the computer.
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