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Windows 7 Pro to XP Pro Downgrade: How to install Windows XP on clean hard drive?

Posted on 2011-03-24
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Hello,

We have 16 computers that currently have Windows 2000 on them.  We need to go to Windows XP.  We like the idea of being able to go to Windows 7 at some future point (on the machines that are fast enough).  The current hardware will be fine w/ XP.  Of course, you cannot buy XP anymore, so there is Windows 7 Downgrade Rights:
http://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/pages/downgrade_rights.aspx

1) But it looks like we would have to install Windows 7 first, then downgrade to XP?

2) Can the Windows 7 Pro be Retail OR OEM?

3) We would like to only have to format the windows 2000 machines and install Windows XP clean, and never touch Windows 7.  How can we do this?  Does anyone have any real-world experience on doing this.  I have a Windows XP SP3 OEM CD and key, which should allow me to install Windows XP.

It looks like someone says you can install XP on a clean HDD: http://www.sevenforums.com/installation-setup/143852-can-windows-7-downgrade-xp-now-any-licensing-isues.html, see post #8.  However, I'd like the confirmation from the experts here at experts-exchange...

Thanks!
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Question by:johnhiro007
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by:John Hurst
ID: 35211683
I would be very leery that a Windows 2000 computer could run Windows 7. The differences in computers are pretty vast. In any event, when you do get to Windows 7, you will want it to be 64-bit. Everything after Windows 7 will be 64-bit.

However, I expect the computers will run XP.

I purchased a Windows 7 Pro retail license and XP was not included on the DVD. I don't see how purchasing Windows 7 will get you XP (even though a vendor selling a new computer may be able to put XP on it with the downgrade rights). But the vendor would have an XP install CD.

So you need to find a source for XP. See if Microsoft or a Microsoft vendor will sell you a volume license or else see if you can get some licenses on eBay (legal, to be very certain).

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:johnhiro007
ID: 35211726
thinkpads_user: As the title of the post and the description states; we only need right now is going from Windows 2000 to Windows XP Pro.  I also stated that I have a Win XP CD, which I understand can be used to install Win XP.

Other Experts: please respond if you have direct experience or information directly related to the questions above.... thanks.
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by:btdownloads7
ID: 35211734
You don't need to install Win7 first. In fact, if you ever do install Win7, you'll have to wipe the hard drive to install XP. When you buy Win7 with XP downgrade rights, you're basically buying a license for both Win7 and XP. As far as I know, you can't get retail Win7 with the XP downgrade -- I'm pretty sure it's only an OEM option.

I don't understand what you meant by you having the XP SP3 OEM CD and key. If you have it, why are you buying Win7?
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by:johnhiro007
ID: 35211756
btdownloads7: The Win XP CD and key is already in use and activated.  I need 16 others.  I stated it because if you read the link I posted above, it talks about needing XP media to install XP (you cant do it from the Win7 DVD).
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by:KCTS
ID: 35211780
You can only use an OEM CD on the machine with which is was supplied - and you will need one OEM licence per machine

Win XP is still available if you have a partnership agreement, open licence etc.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 100 total points
ID: 35211789
That is why I suggested you contact Microsoft for a volume license. I don't know whether they will still sell you one, but that is what you need in your situation.  ... Thinkpads_User
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by:btdownloads7
ID: 35211811
Got it. Whenever I've ordered PCs (usually from Dell) with the XP downgrade option, I've been provided with both Win7 and WinXP media. I haven't bought it separately, though, but I would assume that since Dell sent me both discs, they are provided when you buy Win7 with XP downgrade rights.

On a separate subject, and just to mention that this is COMPLETELY AGAINST MS LICENCING POLICY, if all of your PCs are from the same manufacturer, and the OEM XP SP3 CD that you have is for the same manufacturer, you can use that CD to install XP on all of the machines. OEM CDs have a volume license key hardwired, and you will never be asked for it during installation. And it will activate without any issues. (and I do have experience with that)
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by:johnhiro007
ID: 35211869
KCTS: From what I understand, you can use an OEM CD on any computer.  The issue is when it goes to activate.  This is where there is confusion as to how you apply a Windows 7 key to XP (Please see link in original post to Microsofts website).  I understand I would need to purchase 17 Windows 7 Pro licenses.  We do not have any partnership, etc....

thinkpads:  But there is another option to volume licensing, correct?  Which is the 'downgrade rights' of Windows 7?

btdownloads7:  All machines are different, plus we need to stay legit.
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by:SysExpert
ID: 35211887
In general , it would be best to order Win 7 pro volume licenses with the downgrade option, since then you will also get a volume license for XP via a request. Best to do this via a VAR ( DELL, cdW ) if you are not famliar with the process.

You will probably need 1 CD of XP Retail since MS does not supply XP media any longer.

I hope this helps !
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 350 total points
ID: 35212052
I've sat in the room with the licensing people on this and had discussions related to OEM media and the like within the last month.  Here's the story as I understand it (and I'm reasonably confident - THOUGH AS ALWAYS, READ THE DISCLAIMER!)

OEM installs can be used and even imaged and redeployed to other machines of the SAME MAKE AND MODEL.  RAM config, CPU config, Hard Drive size doesn't matter.  The key is that you CANNOT modify the image (meaning if you buy a machine and image the installation for redeployment, that's fine, PROVIDED you did NOT do so much as a single setting customization.  

This can be gotten around by buying Software Assurance for your license within 90 days which then gives you re-imaging rights (meaning you can customize the image and then redeploy it).

(this part not explicitly discussed in recent days)
It is my understanding that all Pro and Higher (Enterprise, Ultimate, Business) have downgrade rights (OEM, Retail, Volume License).  The ONLY time you can buy a NEW version of Windows and POSSIBLY automatically get media for an older version is when you buy it pre-installed on a computer (Microsoft imposed a deadline and pre-installed XP is no longer permitted - you may find a retail store or two that still has a few, but in general, you cannot order from Dell or HP, for example).

If you buy a Volume License, you should get access to an XP ISO image you can download from the Volume License Download site.  You also get a key to use with the volume license media.

OTHERWISE, my understanding is that, assuming you have the appropriate (Pro/Ultimate/Business) version of Windows 7 or Vista, you can use *ANY* XP media and key to install, so long as the media isn't somehow tied to a particular brand of hardware (like Dell CDs tend to be tied to Dell equipment and HP CDs to HP equipment).  If you have activation problems, you call MS and tell them you are using your downgrade rights.

Now that said...
DISCLAIMER: Licensing advice offered here (and on any non-MS site for that matter) is (or should be considered) a "best effort" and based on the understanding of the respondents. Licenses can change and we may not be aware of these changes or may misunderstand them. Further, licenses can differ by country and/or region and what we understand to be true in our region could be false in your region. "they told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid defense in a software audit.  All licensing questions should be confirmed with the appropriate licensing authority (the maker of the software/issuer of the license).  
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 50 total points
ID: 35212998
^^ That (including the disclaimer) is some of the best advice you'll get here.

As you've currently got Win 2K on everything you'll new need a licence for each of your machines and with 25 a volume license agreement is probably your cheapest option.  That will give you media (physical or download) for both W7 and XP and a key for both (with downgrades you use separate keys but you may only have one install active at any time - the end user elects which version of Windows will be installed).  Volume licencing also means you are able to incorporate Windows into a corporate image for reinstallation.

The OEM media you have isn't really what you need and technically my understanding had been you wouldn't end up with legal installs from it onto non-OEM hardware even if you had valid keys.  However this may have been revised in the last month as suggested by leew.

Even though we do it all the time, licencing rules are constantly shifting.  If it's a major business decision I would alway recommend you double check the latest rules with Microsoft before signing the deal (it's a CYA thing!)
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by:ded9
ID: 35213090

If you have windows 7 installed then you can use XP mode feature no need to install XP as second o.s.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/support/default.aspx



Ded9
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by:nobus
ID: 35213289
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by:johnhiro007
ID: 35216633
Does anyone know if I can buy Windows 7 Pro 64 bit and downgrade to XP Pro 32 bit?  (Or would I have to buy Windows 7 Pro 32 bit to downgrade to XP Pro 32 bit?)
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by:ded9
ID: 35216775
You can buy xp from msdn.


Ded9
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35216868
@nobus,
XP PRO is needed, not home.

@ded9,
what are you talking about?  You don't "buy xp from msdn" - MSDN is a program for developers that provides media and keys for development purposes.  How would that satisfy this need, especially considering how much even the OS level MSDN costs?

@johnhiro007
Bit level doesn't matter.  Neither copy will come with an XP CD that you need or XP keys.  If you buy a volume license, you get both and you get access to download the media and a key.
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by:nobus
ID: 35216903
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by:ded9
ID: 35216926
leew: Windows xp is an obsolete o.s and you cannot buy vlk license you can only obtain a copy of xp via msdn.



Ded9
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by:btdownloads7
ID: 35217122
@johnhiro007 the 23-bit and 64-bit licenses are not interchangeable. You'll need to buy 32-bit to be able to install it. And I definitely wouldn't install 64-bit XP on older machines -- it requires more RAM, and driver support is horrible. At least for Win7, the 64-bit support got a lot beter, but there are still lots of growing pains.
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by:btdownloads7
ID: 35217129
Sorry for the typo. I meant 32-bit, of course.
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by:btdownloads7
ID: 35217153
Oh, and here's the MS page (from 2006) that covers everything about the Volume License Keys:
http://www.microsoft.com/indonesia/license/resources/vol/default.aspx

There are a few phone numbersto call MS, and I'm sure that they can point you to the best way of ordering the VLK licenses.
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by:
Lee W, MVP earned 350 total points
ID: 35217188
@ded9
Please read my first comment.  To reiterate:
It is my understanding that all Pro and Higher (Enterprise, Ultimate, Business) have downgrade rights (OEM, Retail, Volume License).  
...
If you buy a Volume License, you should get access to an XP ISO image you can download from the Volume License Download site.  You also get a key to use with the volume license media.

To be painfully clear, you buy the Windows 7 Volume License for all your systems.  Then, you register the license with MS and log in to the Volume License Download center (what used to be https://eopen.microsoft.com but I believe has since changed to a name I can never remember for some reason).  Upon registering, you have access to the Windows 7 Pro ISO image, the Windows Vista ISO image, AND the Windows XP ISO image and needed keys.

And again, bit level shouldn't matter I know for a fact it doesn't matter when using a volume license so AT LEAST in that regard I'm certain btdownloads7 is mistaken.
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Author Comment

by:johnhiro007
ID: 35359585
We called the Microsoft Fullfillment Center at 800-336-0098, which said we can purchase a volume license of Windows 7 at $187 each, and can downgrade it to install Windows XP Pro.  They had no further details except that it had to be purchased from a reseller.  They suggested contacting tigerdirect, CDW or Dell.  So far these companies cannot confirm the exact steps necessary to install XP fresh.  Any suggestions on how to get the exact steps laid out, and for them to be accurate?
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by:nobus
ID: 35360543
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by:SysExpert
ID: 35371520
You are required to buy a retail box version of XP to have the correct install media, and you can then use the XP Product key to activate.

That was the outcome of a similar search for downgrade options for vista/ Win 7.

I hope this helps !
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Author Comment

by:johnhiro007
ID: 35377428
nobus; the first link is talking about downgrading from a Windows 7 install; so does not apply.  The second like is a copy of the link I posted in the original post.
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by:nobus
ID: 35381307
ok - i have no more info...
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by:johnhiro007
johnhiro007 earned 0 total points
ID: 35463109
So, I called a Microsoft reseller, they are able to sell the volume license version of Win 7.  They said that you then log into Microsofts website and download Windows XP ISO.  Microsoft also provides a single VLK for XP that would be used.   Thanks for all your answers...
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Author Closing Comment

by:johnhiro007
ID: 35499753
Nobody directly knew the answers, but some comments helped point me in the right direction to find the answer.
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