Gold'en Rant : Dell quietly nixing its Windows XP options

I'm getting more than a little annoyed with Dell UK as, over the last few weeks, they've been quietly trimming the number of operating system options for buyers of their notebooks and desktops.

Just a few weeks ago it was possible to opt for Windows XP Pro as an alternative to Microsoft Vista on most of Dell's business and consumer PCs being sold for UK consumption.

Now that option has disappeared on most notebooks and all desktop PCs, although Dell says that customers can ask for XP Pro to be substituted to their orders on request.

Last week I ordered a shiny new M1330 notebook for myself, as an upgrade from my ageing but trust Sony Vaio PCG-C1VC, reluctantly going down the route of ordering Vista.

After immediately contacting Dell to change the order to include XP Pro, I was told that I couldn't change the order once it had been submitted and that I should have interacted with a sales representative in online chat, to get the appropriate order code.

Now they tell me that I'll have to shell out another 50 quid for an OEM copy of Windows XP. Grrrr. The Dell sales support person I spoke to was sympathetic and offered me a free copy of McAfee Security as an add-on to my order.

The two years version that sells for £50.00 on the Web site? No, a 90-day trial edition.

Yeah, like I REALLY could do with that. Can I have a chocolate teapot as well? - it's more useful.

Thanks a lot Dell...

(Editor's note : There exist a number of online outlets that specialise in selling second hand XP-equipped Dell Laptops. Far from being dodgy models, these laptops are refurbished and re-boxed by Dell themselves and often carry a full three-year onsite warranty worth at least £116. Amongst the most popular are EuroPC, SVP.co.uk, MCSCOM.co.uk and Dell's own Dell Outlet)