HP has reintroduced a range of PCs running the last-generation Windows 7 operating system, claiming that users are demanding it as an alternative to the divisive touch-centric Windows 8.1.
Microsoft's latest operating system, upgraded since launch to the tweaked Windows 8.1 build formerly known as Windows Blue, has as its focus a tile-based user interface based on the Metro UI originally developed for the company's Windows Phone line. While it makes sense if you have a touch-screen device, many early adopters complained the UI was poorly optimised for keyboard and mouse users - and, coupled with a lack of a Start Menu without resorting to third-party add-on software, many chose to stick with their tried-and-tested Windows 7 installation instead.
For those who buy pre-built systems, however, things aren't that simple: as is usual for a new Windows release, the majority of manufacturers have retired Windows 7 and supply all new systems with Windows 8.1 instead. Business users can typically find Windows 7 as an option - or downgrade for free if they're volume license customers - but consumers looking to pick up a new system are forced into an OS upgrade at the same time.
At least, unless you're buying from HP. The company has begun a campaign in the US - expected to reach the UK soon - to advertise a range of consumer-grade systems featuring Windows 7 in place of Microsoft's latest and greatest. Claiming 'popular demand
,' the company has opted to make Windows 7 the default on all its new consumer desktop systems with Windows 8 only available by customising the choices on its website. Its primary laptop platform, too, now comes with Windows 7 once again - although shoppers looking for a portable are at least offered Windows 8.1 without the need to delve into customisation options.
Beyond an email campaign and the pro-Windows 7 messages on its webstore
, HP has not publicly commented on its move away from Windows 8.