HP warns consumers: Don't downgrade Win8 PCs to Win7
'You won't get any help from us'
Updated Windows 8 got you down? Don't worry; even if you buy a new machine with Windows 8 preinstalled, you should be able to downgrade it to Windows 7, if you prefer – that is, unless you bought a new consumer PC or laptop from HP.
It's a little-known fact that Windows licenses include the right to downgrade to earlier versions of the OS, at the customer's discretion. Customers whose new PCs came with Windows 8 are free to replace the OS with Windows 7 or even Vista – heaven forbid – at no additional charge, provided they're willing to do the work themselves.
Just don't try it with an HP box. According to a post on the PC maker's Windows 8 FAQ, downgrades to Windows 7 are only supported on HP's "commercial" notebooks and PCs; that is, the ones marketed to businesses. Buyers of consumer HP kit, on the other hand – the kind sold through big-box retailers – should plan on getting used to Windows 8.
"After October 26, 2012, HP consumer desktop and notebook products will ship only with Windows 8," the post cautions. "Windows 7 will not be supported on these new platforms, and no drivers, apps, or Windows 7 content will be available through HP."
On the one hand, that might actually be a plus. Many of the "apps" HP ships with new PCs are more rightly called "crapware." Some of the preinstalled programs duplicate functions already provided by Windows, while others are trial versions of third-party software nobody asked for.
But drivers are a different matter. Stock Windows 7 will install and boot on most modern PCs just fine, but built-in peripherals can be problematic. In particular, laptop add-ons such as webcams, card readers, touchpads, fingerprint readers, and the like may not work with any of Windows 7's built-in drivers. If HP won't provide drivers either, downgrading to Windows 7 may mean customers will lose some of their hardware's functionality.
It's worth noting that HP isn't being as stingy with customers who want to go the opposite direction. Over the past few months, the PC maker has quietly been rolling out Windows 8 drivers for some of its consumer models that originally shipped with Windows 7, for customers who want to upgrade.
It seems clear that, much like Microsoft itself, HP has gone "all in" for Windows 8 – whether consumers like it or not.
That said, HP won't actually stop anyone from downgrading their consumer hardware, if they insist. Although HP won't support the Windows 7 OS on machines that shipped with Windows 8, it will continue to support the hardware itself – at least, up to a point.
"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," the company's FAQ post explains.
In other words, "We're not twisting anybody's arm here. Do what you want – but good luck to you." ®
HP has since contacted us to let us know it has revised the language in its Windows 8 FAQ post. The post now reads as follows:
Yes, customers can downgrade to Windows 7 and you will remain protected by HP product warranties.
However, HP has not tested all Windows 8 platforms for Windows 7 and we may not have your particular drivers available.
If you choose to install a different operating system (OS) and have a problem that requires HP support, you may need to restore the original OS to fully diagnose your problem
Readers will note, however, that while the new language certainly sounds friendlier, there has been no substantive change in HP's policy toward downgrades.
"HP warns consumers 'Don't buy a PC from us'"
Yep that's how that headline looked after being processed through my brain.
Re: Crapy decision ...
"I don't mind working without a camera, but wireless... Really?"
Seriously? Wifi issues in 2012?
Maybe one of these years will be the Year of Windows On The Desktop. Until then, it's plainly not ready for prime time.
(sorry, couldn't resist).
Off the list then...
... was going to buy a new laptop in a week or so....it now wont be a HP laptop.
Re: We always downgrade to vanilla 7 anyway.
I work in HP's tech support in Gateshead and the first step when resolving Windows issues on supported products is to remove the bloatware. Step 1, always always always, "system refresh" with a clean windows install. Same goes for their printer support; if it's a software issue, do a reinstall de-selecting everything but the printer driver itself. We're outsourced and our #1 report to HP every month is to stop adding so much fucking bloat, and while they'd made some headway (the new printer drivers [v28] are only 50mb, down from 250mb a few years ago), the bloat and poor software are the biggest sources of issues for us.
Also, in my opinion, not supporting downgraded products is fair enough. The support agreements clearly state that the manufacturer will only provide software support for the software provided with the system - in this case Windows 8. This isn't unreasonable and all manufacturers do the same [most manufacturers dont actually provide any software support - HP is aping apple in this regard: apple's tech support teams are based in the same building as HP's teams in Gateshead, entirely by coincidence]
Now, while not supporting downgrades is pretty reasonable, HP are being seriously disingenuous in another way. At the moment, if you buy a Windows 7 PC and buy a Windows 8 upgrade alongside it, a purchase HP will refund you, effectively making it free, <u>HP will not support that machine with Windows 8 installed</u>. Even though it was shipped advertised as supporting Win8, and even though HP have given you a free Win8 license alongside it, if you get any software issues and call to get them resolved, you'll get sweet FA from the PSG support until you've reformatted and reinstalled Win7.
And just to show how absolutely insane HP are, while PSG (laptops and desktops) are doing everything they can to avoid supporting Win8, IPG (printers, scanners) are providing absolutely free, no strings attached software support and diagnosis for any customers with windows 8.
And just for a final note of insanity, IPG and PSG were supposed to be merged six months ago.
And HP's management wonder why they're losing money.
Re: Off the list then...
My message to HP is to stick their computers where the sun don't shine. Frankly, I would rather upgrade to Linux rather than downgrade to 7. But that is another matter. I resent Redmond trying to tell me what i can use on my computer!