Many new computers are coming with the latest and greatest from Microsoft, Windows Vista. Users (and their technical staff) are finding out the hard way that some things just don't work, or won't work. For example, I ran into a firm that got 2 new PC's with Vista, but none will run their mission critical app, so both are being reformateed with Windows XP.
However, there is no migration path from Vista Home Basic or Vista Home Premium to Windows XP. You have to have licences for XP. You are basically stuck if you want to downgrade.
But if you are really a business user, you should be purchasing Vista Business anyway. That included the rights to downgrade to Windows XP Professional for nominal costs (costs of CD). According to this document on Microsoft's website, this is what they say about downgrade rights...
Can I downgrade my OEM version of Windows Vista Business to Windows XP Professional?
Yes. OEM downgrade rights for desktop PC operating systems apply to Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate as stated in the License Terms. Please note, OEM downgrade versions of Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate are limited to Windows XP Professional (including Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and Windows XP x64 Edition). End users can use the following media for their downgrade: Volume Licensing media (provided the end user has a Volume Licensing agreement), retail (FPP), or system builder hologram CD (provided the software is acquired in accordance with the Microsoft OEM System Builder License). Use of the downgraded operating system is governed by the Windows Vista Business License Terms, and the end user cannot use both the downgrade operating system and Windows Vista Business. There are no downgrade rights granted for Windows Vista Home Basic or Windows Vista Home Premium.
In the same breath, if you still need access to Microsoft's older products like Windows 98 or, God forbid, Windows 95, you can still purchase licences for them. What you do is purchase licenses for Vista Enterprise, then you have rights to Windows Vista Business, and it can be downgraded to the Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT® 4.0, Windows NT 3.51, Windows 98, or Windows 95 operating system.
According to the same document at Microsoft...
If I have Windows Vista Enterprise, what can I downgrade to?
Downgrade rights in the Volume Licensing programs provide customers with the right to downgrade to any prior version of the same product. Windows Vista Enterprise is a new type of product and does not have a prior version. However, customers licensed for use of Windows Vista Enterprise are licensed for Windows Vista Business, and it can be downgraded to the Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT® 4.0, Windows NT 3.51, Windows 98, or Windows 95 operating system. You would not, however, be able to downgrade to Windows Vista Home Basic or Windows Vista Home Premium, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, or Microsoft Windows Millennium as those are different products and not considered previous versions of Windows Vista Business.
So if you are even sceptical about buying a new computer, that you just might throw in the towel with Windows Vista, do yourself and your IT staff a favor and get Vista Business for the free downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional.