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.
HP has made Windows 7 the default operating system for all its new desktop systems, claiming that 'popular demand' has led it to switch from 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.