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 Downgrade rights details and FAQ

What to know about downgrade rights

The following provides more details about downgrade rights for Windows 8 Pro, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise and Datacentre versions and Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition.​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  • Also see the Downgrade Rights FAQ.
  • End users can use the following media for their downgrades: retail (full packaged product), or system builder edge-to-edge media (DVD), provided the software is acquired in accordance with the Microsoft OEM System Builder Licence. End users can use one legal version of the downgrade media for multiple installations. They don't need to have one set of media for each PC they are downgrading, because they have acquired legitimate full operating system licenses for the most recent version, which gave them the right to downgrade.
  • In the event the end user opts to downgrade, neither Microsoft nor the PC manufacturer is obliged to provide customer product support for systems on which downgraded software is installed.
  • The software may not be installed on any computer system other than the one that was downgraded under this right.
  • If downgrading, the end user cannot use the new operating system (for example, Windows 8 Pro) and the downgraded operating system (for example, Windows 7 Professional) at the same time.
  • If an end user chooses to downgrade to an approved, prior version of the Windows desktop operating system, the PC manufacturer still must apply the desktop operating system Certificate of Authenticity (COA) to the PC.
  • End users may reinstall the software at any time, provided the downgraded operating system has been removed from the computer and that software is reinstalled on the same PC on which it was originally installed, using the original OEM system builder edge-to-edge media (DVD) distributed with the original PC. The end user will need to use the product key, located in the centre of the Certificate of Authenticity (COA), in order to activate the following products:
    • Windows 8 Pro
    • Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate
    • Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate
    • Windows XP Professional
    • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
    • Windows XP x64 Edition
    • Windows Server 2008
    • Windows Small Business Server 2008
  • For Client Access Licence (CAL) downgrades, end users may use Windows Device CALs and Windows User CALs with an earlier version of the software in accordance with the terms of the of the Windows Server 2008 End User Software Licence Terms.

This summary is intended to be a general informational overview of the downgrade rights outlined in the End User Software Licence Terms for the indicated Microsoft OEM system builder product. Please refer to the actual Licence Agreement for the precise terms and conditions that govern use of the software.

Downgrade rights FAQ

Q. Who can install the downgrade software?
Q. Where does the system builder or end user get the Windows 7 Professional, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition or Windows XP x64 Edition media disk to perform the downgrade?
Q. Do I need separate media for each downgrade?
Q. Do I include the media in the box with the end user's system?
Q. Will the downgraded software require product activation? If so, what product key should be used to activate the software?
Q. Clarify again why product activation may fail?
Q. What are the end-user benefits of downgrade rights?
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