Microsoft offers free Vista-to-XP downgrade help

It's aimed at getting small businesses to buy new Vista PCs

Microsoft's help desk representatives will answer any Vista questions, help users with application and peripheral compatibility problems, and point out key features of the operating system, said the company. The support isn't permanent; it ends Oct. 31.

The program, said Microsoft, is only temporary because it's designed to help customers make the transition to Windows Vista. "As Windows XP availability begins to wind down, we want small businesses to know we're behind them to provide special support during this transition period," said Microsoft in the program's online FAQ.

But if Small Business Assurance can't make users happy, Microsoft will walk them through a downgrade to Windows XP. "In cases where a small business customer cannot overcome an incompatibility issue and has the PC's recovery media disc for Windows XP, we are equipped to help with a downgrade over the phone," said Microsoft on its Web site.

Small Business Assurance is available only to US customers, although Microsoft didn't say whether it might expand the program into other markets.

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Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

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