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Downgrade Windows 8 to Windows 7

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Last Modified: 2013-04-11
On a computer that was purchased with the OEM version of Windows 8 Pro on it, what are the options for downgrading to Windows 7?

Blog and Forum posts like these have some info but they gloss over the most important part - actually DOING the downgrade:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2015107/downgrading-from-windows-8-to-7-what-you-need-to-know.html
http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/13326-downgrade-windows-8-windows-7-a.html

Both of the above websites seem to suggest that the process for doing a downgrade is to prep your BIOS accordingly, then blow away the existing Windows 8 installation and re-install Windows 7 from scratch.

Is this the only way to go about doing it? Or does Microsoft have any "soft" downgrade option that is a bit more user friendly and will allow them to keep their settings / files / programs automagically?

Second question - when downgrading from Windows 8, what version of Windows 7 are you allowed to downgrade to? Home Premium? Pro? Ultimate?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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Commented:
And while you can ask the OEM for media, they are NOT obligated to provide it.  You may need to provide the Windows 7 Pro media (ANY media SHOULD work though you may have to call MS and explain you are using downgrade rights if there are any activation issues).

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Commented:
PowerEdgeTech - sounds like you might have done this before. Can you tell me - when you do the clean install Windows 7, what product key do you enter during setup? Do you enter the Windows 8 key into the box? Will it accept that?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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Keys are specific to the OS - You cannot use a Windows 8 key for a Windows 7 system, you must use a Windows 7 key.

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Commented:
Hi Leew - I guess I'm not following. How can you activate Windows 7 then after doing the install? The idea behind the downgrade rights is that your Windows 8 Pro OEM license somehow entitles you to use a Windows 7 installation, isn't that right?

If a customer posesses:

    - Laptop that came with Windows 8 Pro OEM
    - Windows 8 Pro OEM CoA sticker
    - A Windows 7 Professional OEM installation media
    - NO license key for Windows 7

Is the above insufficient for them to successfully get Windows 7 up and running and activated on the laptop?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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Commented:
Understood - the OEM washes their hands of you as soon as you decide to not use the intended OS. I understand that.

So the process seems to be that you source your own Win7 installation media and an old Win7 license key (preferably the license key that came with your installation media). Install Windows 7 like normal, and then when activation fails you go through the phone activation system and talk to a support rep to have them manually activate your installation, citing downgrade rights to your existing Windows 8 Pro license.

Man that's clumsy.... but I suppose Microsoft really doesn't want people to downgrade ;)

BTW that seems to line up with the article that Sushilb84 posted. (Q. Will the downgraded software require product activation? If so, what product key should be used to activate the software? )
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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Commented:
Yep, that's the process as I know it.
PowerEdgeTechIT Consultant
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Commented:
Sorry ... no I have not done this first-hand (although I have a system coming I will get to experiment with before delivering it to a client next week) ... my understanding of the process lines up to how it has been described thus far, but I will post back with what I find first-hand, if you are interested.  I also hear that systems are not shipping with actual Windows 8 COA's because the Product Key now resides in the BIOS.
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maybe a bit off topic - but why not try UBUNTU?
free, and easy to use and install :  http://www.ubuntu.com/

***and it does the same windows does...
PowerEdgeTechIT Consultant
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Commented:
Your personal preference for an OS is a little off-topic and not really an answer to his question.  Switching to Ubuntu is no different from telling him to keep Windows 8 ... it doesn't answer his question - it avoids it - and is better left unsaid ... don't you think?
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Commented:
i prefer an answer from the asker
your opinion is yours, just like mine
PowerEdgeTechIT Consultant
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Commented:
Don't get worked up.  Just sayin' ...

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