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Dell is to once again offer Windows XP on new systems, responding to online customer complaints. The decision reverses a Vista-only policy the PC seller has moved to since the release of Microsoft's latest OS. The move is a reaction to online complaints at Dell's recently-launched Ideastorm website.

At Ideastorm, users can create or vote on suggestions to the company (in the courteous and thoughtful manner the internet is known for). Most of the complaints on the site regard a lack of OS options.

The most popular Vista-phobic post and the one that got the company's attention is "Dont [sic] eliminate XP just yet" which received 12,228 supporting "points." (The scoring process on the site is extremely convoluted. According to the site, each vote bumps the score by 10 points. This would mean either there's something else unsaid in the woodwork, or there's 1,222 and eight tenths of a person who wants XP. On an slightly unrelated note, a post asking for Linux support is the most popular with 125,126 votes.)

Dell manager Lionel Menchaca noted the complaint on his Dell blog and announced customers can now purchases XP Home or Pro on certain Dimension desktops and Inspiron notebooks.

The models are: Dimension E520 and E521 desktops, and Inspiron 1501, E1405, E1505, and E1705 notebooks

The XP option is available only to US customers.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is showing its poker face regarding the development.

"Dell is responding appropriately to a small minority of customers that had this specific request," Microsoft product manager Michael Burk said in a statement. "But, as they have said before, the vast majority of consumers want the latest and greatest technology, and that includes Windows Vista."

Manufacturers will only be able to pre-install XP on systems until Jan. 31, 2008 when Microsoft will force them to switch no matter what internet denizens ask for. ®

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