Following confusion surrounding its Windows x64 Advancement Program, which offers a free upgrade from the standard 32-bit version of Windows XP to the recent 64-bit release, Microsoft has clarified the language on its Web site. All users, whether they purchased or built their PCs, are now eligible for the 64-bit upgrade.
Microsoft previously had said publicly that any Windows XP user with an x64-supported processor, such as an Athlon 64, may trade in their license for the x64 Edition of Windows XP. But the companys Web site for the program said the offer applied only to purchased PCs with an OEM copy of Windows XP.
The move left many Athlon 64 users who built their PCs unable to take advantage of the free upgrade. To make matters worse, Microsoft announced that it would offer its 64-bit operating system only via PC manufacturers and would not sell the box on store shelves due to limited driver support.
“Windows XP 64-bit is not gonna be on retail shelves? So how in the world am I supposed to get it?” asked one BetaNews reader. “I built a AMD Athlon 64 system for nothing?”
A Microsoft spokesperson said the x64 Advancement Program Web site was updated in response to such feedback. The site now also accepts a Windows XP product key in addition to the COA (certificate of authenticity) label that comes with OEM PCs.