Microsoft reimagined the desktop with Windows 8, and despite the arrival of Windows 8.1, a lot of people don't like the new Windows. If you count yourself among those who can't stand Windows 8, don't worry, apparently HP has your back. The company is giving the people what they want. HP's U.S. website (opens in new tab) now carries the message, "Back by popular demand. Customize a new HP PC with Windows 7 and save up to $150 instantly." Clicking for more information leads you to a page with all of HP's Windows 7 machines. This list is currently only five computers long and includes the Pavilion 500-205t desktop, the Envy 700-215xt desktop, the Pavilion 15t-n200 notebook, the Envy 15t-j100 notebook, and the Envy Phoenix 810-135qe desktop.
HP isn't doing anything wrong; manufacturers are still allowed to ship PCs with Windows 7. Microsoft stopped companies shipping Windows Vista machines after October 2011, and companies haven't been allowed to ship computers with Windows XP installed for over three years. (October 22, 2010 was the official date according to Microsoft's Windows lifecycle pages.) Redmond hasn't yet determined a date for the end of sales for computers with Windows 7 pre-installed.
While HP is well within its rights to keep selling Windows 7 machines, it's worth noting that the selection of Win7 computers it's offering is very small, which is going to push users towards Windows 8 anyway. Still, with its touch-optimized interface, Windows 8 is totally different from Windows 7, and many find it hard to adjust to Microsoft's newest iteration of its operating system. Those people can turn to a very small corner for help.
According to IDC, PC shipments took a 5.6 percent dive in the fourth quarter of 2013. With only 82.2 million units sold during Q4, unit shipments for the whole year declined 10 percent from 2012, a record drop. IDC says commercial purchases helped prevent a larger decline while the consumer side remained weak. Though a mixed reaction to Windows 8 cannot shoulder all the blame for the declining PC market (there are other factors, including the rapidly expanding and changing mobile market), people do shy away from the new and different. Microsoft has made steps towards easing users' discomfort with Windows 8.1, implementing changes based on feedback received after the launch of Windows 8, but the fact that HP's running this campaign at all shows Redmond still has a ways to go with Windows 8.