Some used PCs are being purchased not for the hardware but because people want to get their hands on a copy of Windows XP, according to industry analysts and hardware suppliers.
A lot of PCs have been disposed of because Microsoft's Windows Vista OS has created a demand for PCs with greater hardware capabilities, according to a study released by Gartner last week. In 2007, about 197 million PCs were discarded, of which 44% were put up for sale secondhand.
Many consumers and businesses prefer used PCs with Windows XP because they still have older copies of software programs that often don't run properly on new PCs running Vista, said David Daoud, research manager at IDC. For example, consumers may need to buy used PCs with Windows XP to run older accounting software that is incompatible with Vista.
Similarly, many businesses have been slow at adopting Windows Vista because of uncertainty surrounding whether it would work well with existing software. Notably, Intel said earlier this year that XP will be the dominant OS for most of its employees for the foreseeable future.