How can I downgrade Windows 8?

Garris Rago April 17, 2013
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I have read about downgrade rights and understand that on Windows 8 Pro you can install Windows 7 with an already used disk and licence key with phone activation, then go back to Windows 8 Pro at any time. That is as I understand it anyway.

My sister has got a new laptop with WIndows 8 pre installed, the standard version. I have the Windows 7 installation disk and a key that has already been used on her old laptop. Her old laptop does not use Windows 7 anymore as I run Lubuntu on it.

What I don’t understand is, surely I could install Windows 7 on the new laptop which would remove Windows 8 when I install it (am I right here?) and use the (already used) licence key that is no longer in use (am I right here?) and the only limitation due to not having a Pro version of Windows 8 is that she cannot upgrade to Windows 8 when she is ready (am I right here?).

Or is it that Windows 7 cannot be installed on the computer at all because it is Windows 8 standard? I doubt it but I just wanted to be sure in case I messed up the laptop.

Thank your help MakeUseOf! :)

  1. Paul Pruitt
    April 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    If you install the freeware/open source, Classic Shell:, Windows 8 behaves like a slightly improved Windows 7 machine. You can still easily access the new cell phone like apps too. The apps just become another sub-menu accessible through Classic Shell's WIndows 7 clone start menu.

  2. Justin Pot
    April 19, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Legally this is can't really move an OEM license from one device to another. Microsoft will usually let you, though – you'll just have to talk with someone over the phone to get it working.

    The real question is whether there are Windows 7 compatible drivers for your new laptop. Believe it or not, some new models already have this problem. So look into it before you make the leap...

  3. Bill H
    April 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Yes you can downgrade....but if there is a warranty, this might void the warranty. Its not illegal to downgrade the OS. If there is a warranty check with the computer's manufacturer to make sure this won't void the warranty. Hate for your sister have paid for a warranty and have it voided.

  4. Nikhil Chandak
    April 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Hey , I hope so this will work for u , for downgrading from Windows 8 pro to Windows 7

  5. Athul Jayaram
    April 17, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I think you are messing up yourself :)

    It's so simple

    You can install any OS on your laptop, it's your choice. Your sister paid money for laptop, so you can add any OS (If you think about downgrade rights and all, then 90% of users will be jailed :P impossible)

    Either put your win 7 disk and do a fresh install (delete win 8 partition)

    or if you are really worried about downgrade rights (install it on a virtual pc)

  6. GamE
    April 17, 2013 at 8:27 am

    You cant use the windows 8 key to install windows 7 in your PC. Instead try a new win 7 license

  7. ha14
    April 17, 2013 at 5:40 am

    you can install windows 7 can be installed easily on laptops/pc shipped with Windows 8, you can do dual boot and check that.

    Not Sure About Upgrading? Then Why Not Dual Boot Windows 8 With Windows 7?

    Microsoft Will Allow Downgrades From Windows 8 to Windows 7, Vista
    •Purchase a PC with Windows 8 Pro preinstalled.
    •Downgrade—at no additional cost—to Windows 7 Professional.
    •Move to Windows 8 Pro at the appropriate time. The system is licensed and ready for conversion

  8. Bruce Epper
    April 17, 2013 at 1:17 am

    There is nothing anywhre that I have ever seen that states that the operating system that is preinstalled on a computer must remain on that computer and even if there was such a stipulation, I really doubt it would stand up in a court of law.

    You can install that copy of Windows 7 on any computer as long as it is only on one computer at a time ever.

    If you have the Windows 8 installation media (not Pro) and the associated license key, you can reinstall Windows 8 on that machine whenever you like since you are putting the original version of the OS back on the system. It is probably an OEM version using an OEM key, so a retail disk will not work for the reinstall. It must be an OEM version (from media that came with or was created with the new laptop - usually done during the OOB portion of the setup after its initial unpacking).

    • Chris Marcoe
      April 17, 2013 at 2:52 am

      So, he should just run a fresh install with Windows 7 and use the key he has, yes? And with the other discs (windows 8) he can reinstall it at any time...?

    • aelaos
      April 17, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Thats Right . You Can Reinstall Win 7 with your win7 Key , and Later you can re-install win8 . But win8 has a new feature that its licence is Binded with the Hardware , which means that you can't install your win 8 on any other Laptop except the one that came with it

    • Garris Rago
      April 17, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Thanks for your detailed response Bruce! (Y)

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