Since Windows Vista's launch on January 30th, Windows XP owners who ordered or were guaranteed upgrade CDs for Vista are still waiting for them. So what gives? Apparently the issue has nothing to do with fulfilling orders and everything to do with drivers. Many of the major OEMs such as Dell, HP, and Gateway offer qualified users an upgrade to Windows Vista as well as Vista support. So, from a support standpoint, why would any OEM ship a product to users that would make hardware on their current system not function properly? So, until some solid drivers for older hardware come out for Vista, it looks like you may be waiting until as late as April for your Windows Vista upgrade kit.
But as the January 30 launch date came and went, customers waiting for their Express Upgrade have found that there's nothing "express" about it. Some two weeks after launch, few - if any - customers have received their upgrades from major OEMs, despite the fact that you can walk into any retail computer store and pick one up right off the shelves. What gives? ... Here's the rub: customers who qualify for an Express Upgrade also qualify for OEM support for Windows Vista, even if their machines came with Windows XP. The last thing a Dell, Gateway, or HP wants to do is start sending out upgrades to customers who might have video cards that do not have particularly stable drivers yet (or sound cards, or RAID controllers, etc.). This could be a support disaster. So the delays appear to be driven, in part, by OEM efforts to essentially whitelist hardware components and configurations, which becomes a matter of testing.