Downgrade Windows 8 to Windows 7

If you are looking for a way to downgrade Windows 8 to Windows 7, this post will be able to throw some light on the subject. The article talks about restoring a previous Windows installation – Windows 7 or Windows Vista – on a computer currently running Windows 8, and also about the downgrade rights that Microsoft offers.


Downgrade Windows 8 to Windows 7

Not all products include downgrade rights. But Microsoft has enumerated “Downgrade Rights” for Windows 8, that allow users to downgrade from Windows 8 Pro to Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business, until they are ready to move to the more recent version. The following OEM versions of Windows software are eligible for downgrade rights.

There are no downgrade rights for retail versions of Windows 8. If you upgraded to Windows 8 using a retail version of Windows 8, you have to reinstall Windows 7 by using the recovery or installation media.

If you use an OEM Windows 8, then downgrade rights apply to only Windows 8 Pro and you will be able to downgrade to Windows 7 Pro or Windows Vista Business.

Volume Licensing will however allow you to downgrade to Windows 7 Pro, Windows Vista Business, Windows XP Pro, Windows 2000 Pro and even Windows 95 / 98/ NT.


According to Microsoft the points to be considered when you downgrade from Windows 8 Pro or Windows 7 are :

  • Purchase a PC preinstalled with Windows software.
  • Accept the End User Software License Terms.
  • Perform the downgrade or authorize a third-party to perform it on their behalf.
  • You need a licensed version of Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate. The version should be legally obtained from OEM partner or from retail channels
  • The users who are licensed separately through Microsoft Volume Licensing (VL) may provide their VL media and key to a system builder to facilitate the downgrade on their own systems
  • Back up everything
  • Turn off UEFI Secure Boot, if required. Change the settings so that the computer starts in legacy BIOS mode.
  • Now you need to insert the Windows 7 licensed version disk and follow the installation process, and if you’re planning to restore the previous Windows installation by using the Windows.old folder then you could follow this post on how to restore a Windows 7 computer to a previous Windows installation by using the Windows.old folder.
  • The important thing you have to remember is that, at the time of activation, you will not be able to activate it online, you can only activate the software over the phone. Follow this post on how to activate Windows over a phone. Use the Windows 8 license key to activate Windows 7 over the phone. The local Activation Support phone number will be displayed and you will be required to call the Activation Support Line. The Microsoft representative will give you a single-use activation code that you can use to activate Windows 7.
  • If your OEM has pre-injected the product key for Windows 7 Professional on your PC, install Windows 7 Professional by using the recovery media. Alternatively, you may install Windows 7 Professional by using a genuine copy of the installation media. Your system will activate automatically by using the product key that was injected into the BIOS.
  • If your OEM has not injected your product key into the BIOS on your PC, then insert the installation media for Windows 7 and follow the on-screen instructions. Type the Windows 7 license key when asked and activate it as usual.

There is one more thing you should know before you downgrade. If you have downgraded from a pre-installed Windows 8 PC with Windows 7 PC, make sure you obtain the relevant drivers. Because according to the Microsoft downgrade rights agreement, in case you opt to downgrade Windows 8 to Windows 7, neither Microsoft nor the PC manufacturer will be obliged to provide customer product support. This means you are on your own, so make sure you gather all the necessary drivers, Product keys etc. before you start the process.

For further information you can visit Microsoft’s website.

Microsoft has made things difficult. A better option would be to go for a clean install of Windows 7.

– With inputs from Shyam Sasindran & Hemant Saxena

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. A little tip: 7/8 drivers are cross compatible for the most part, much in the way Vista/7 were. The difference, however, is that the Vista/7 driver compatibility was nearly 100%. THe majority of 8 drivers will work on 7, but you may run into quirks.

    Example: For testing purposes, I installed Windows 7 on a Dell XPS 12. All the drivers installed just fine, and everything worked, but the touchscreen driver was ever-so-slightly not working right. It installed, registered touches, but it would never, ever calibrate correctly. Half the screen would not register touches, the other half was off by a few inches. If you try to calibrate, you can’t finish because it’s not registering that other half of the screen’s touches. Of course this is a result of using an 8 driver on 7, but given the nature of the device(multitouch digitizer), it’s not surprising. More basic device like the audio, LAN, wifi, video, will work like a charm with 8 drivers in Win7, if no *official* 7 drivers are available.

    If you’re going the desktop or regular laptop route, don’t fret. You should be good to go.

  2. Thanks for the useful tip, Andrew.

  3. Computer Repair Westchester NY

    You should be able to downgrade without any issue and use the same drivers on the website of the manufacturer that are normally compatible with Vista and Windows 7. My only suggestion is to really buy a complete installation CD with Windows 7 and perform a fresh installation after having (of course) saved your data.

  4. Alin

    How did you get win7 to detect the HDD?

  5. Happy New Apple Owner

    W8 drove me to go to Apple. Gates must be a fucking pompous ass to force W8 down consumers throats on all new PC purchases without the option of W7. Fuck Gates

    Happy new Apple Owner.

  6. Menger40

    Gates hasn’t worked at Microsoft for years, so you really can’t blame him. This article describes how to install Windows 7 with your Windows 8 key, so no one is forcing you to stick with Windows 8.

    You know what? You should definitely stick with Apple.

  7. Turd Fergusen

    I couldn’t agree more. He pulled another ‘Vista” debacle on us after redeeming himself with win 7. Bill Gates is the Antichrist. I hate Windows 8.

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