WinXP Downgrade Rights to End in 2014, Not 2020

Dennis Faas's picture

Just days after media reports suggested that the Windows XP downgrade function would be available in Microsoft operating systems until 2020, the software company has now announced that the feature is unlikely to last quite that long.

In an announcement about the release of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 on the official Microsoft Windows Blog on Monday, Brandon LeBlanc made a side-note on the timeline for Windows XP downgrade rights -- in short, the ability to revert to Windows XP while using Windows 7.

WinXP Downgrade Rights Extended

"[W]e have decided to extend downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional beyond the previously planned end date," LeBlanc said in the statement. "Going forward, businesses can continue to purchase new PCs and utilize end user downgrade rights to Windows XP or Windows Vista until they are ready to use Windows 7. Enabling such rights throughout the Windows 7 life cycle will make it easier for customers as they plan deployments to Windows 7."

Recently, InfoWorld contributor Woody Leonhard pointed out that nowhere in that statement does LeBlanc mention the year 2020. Instead, all we really know right now is that Windows XP downgrade rights are likely to last "throughout the Windows 7 life cycle," a term that's unlikely to last more than another 4-5 years, depending on the development of Windows 8. (Source:

XP Downgrade Rights: Date More Likely 2014

So, where did the 2020 date come from? Industry bloggers simply assumed that the life cycle of Windows 7 was the same as its cut-off date, currently listed as ten years from now.

That simply wasn't correct. LeBlanc later sought to correct the report, stating: "[C]ustomers will not be able to buy a Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate PC with end user downgrade rights after Windows 7 reaches the end of sales date in the OEM channel -- which according to the current Windows Lifecycle policy is 2 years after the next version of Windows ships."

Current predictions for Windows 8 suggest the next Microsoft operating system will ship sometime around Christmas 2012, meaning that those XP downgrade rights are likely to expire in 2014 -- six years ahead of those previous reports. (Source:

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