We’re buying some new PCs for a couple of new hires at work. We buy through Dell and for the first time we’re buying PCs sold with Windows XP preinstalled but under the Windows Vista Downgrade plan. The way it works is that the PCs have XP SP2 preinstalled but we get OEM media and OEM license keys for both XP Professional and Vista Business. This way when we want to upgrade OS we can do so without paying for a new license.
I’m guessing in another year or so this option may disappear and we’ll be stuck with Vista only. So to prepare I asked our office IT technician to call Microsoft and ask them to send us a 180-day eval copy of Windows Vista Business so that we can install and smoketest all of our office software and make sure it works.
Turns out that Microsoft stopped giving out 180-day eval copies of Vista last year. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Seems like they’d want businesses to move to Vista and would want to make it easy by providing time-limited eval licenses for testing. Car dealers let you test drive the car before you purchase. Why not with an OS too?
They suggested using the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. Hardly a substitute for a real world test, though.