If you’ve been holding out for HP to offer the Mini-Note with Windows XP preinstalled, I’ve got mixed news. The bad news is that HP will not be selling Mini-Notes with XP already loaded. The good news is that starting around May 15th, the company will offer a “downgrade” option that will let anyone who buys one of the Windows Vista Business models ask for as Windows XP installation disc and a driver disc.
In some ways, this is actually better than getting XP preinstalled, because you’ll have an XP disc that you can use to reinstall the operating system if something goes wrong. But it’s a bit funny to see HP selling a computer that has no CD/DVD drive and then throwing in two CDs.
If you don’t want to buy a USB CD-ROM drive, you can follow my instructions for installing XP without an optical disc drive. But I’m guessing that a lot of less tech-savvy customers will decide it’s too much work to install XP and just stick with Vista.