How to Downgrade from Windows 8 Pro to Windows 7 for Free

August 25th, 2014 by Admin Leave a reply »

After the release of Windows 8, most of the new laptops and desktops are shipping with Windows 8 pre-installed. If you’ve become accustomed to Windows 7 and don’t like Windows 8’s new Metro UI, you can downgrade to Windows 7. Windows 8 Pro comes with a feature called Downgrade Rights, which means you can downgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 7 without paying a penny or having to format the hard drive.

If you want to try this, just make sure your new computer has downgrade rights because not all Windows 8 computers are on the list. These rights are available to PCs which come with Windows 8 Pro pre-installed and not for users who have upgraded to Windows 8 using the promo offer. So it is basically only Windows 8 Pro OEM users. You can only downgrade to Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business, not Windows XP. To learn more about downgrade rights, please check out this complete guide from Microsoft.

Tips: You might need to provide your Windows 8 license key for validating your purchase during exercising your Windows 8 Pro downgrade rights. If you’ve lost the key, you can use KeyFinder Plus to recover it from your current Windows 8 installation.

How to Downgrade from Windows 8 Pro to Windows 7 Pro?

The actual downgrade process is tricky and not a straight forward one. You first need to create a recovery drive for your existing Windows 8 in case you want to bring it back to Windows 8 in future. Once done, you need to disable UEFI and enable Legacy/CSM boot support. You will need a Windows 7 Professional DVD. Insert the Windows 7 installation DVD and boot to it. During the Windows 7 setup, you might need to enter the license key to go past the installation. Here you can enter any used Windows 7 key since activation does not happen here.

Now wait for the install process to complete. Once the process is complete, your PC might show activation failed message or it will not be activated. This is because you have used a key which is already in use. For getting a new key, you need to call up Microsoft support and explain to them about your downgrade rights. Have your Windows 8 Pro key ready which you’ll need to prove your PC has downgrade rights.

Once this is validated, you will receive a new activation key for Windows 7. You will need to do this for all PCs which you have downgraded. You can install back Windows 8 anytime using the recovery drive.