Windows 8 Pro Downgrades to Windows 7, But Not XP

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has announced it will allow people who buy computers running its new Windows 8 Pro operating system (OS) to downgrade their PCs to Windows 7 or Windows Vista. However, the firm will not allow a downgrade to Windows XP.

Downgrade rights allow consumers, at no charge, to dismiss a newer version of Windows in favor of an older edition. The wording is clear.

"Instead of using the Windows 8 Pro software, you may use one of the following earlier versions: Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business," the Windows 8 Pro licensing agreement reads. (Source:

However, those interested in exercising this option must purchase the older OS separately.

"Neither the manufacturer or installer, nor Microsoft, is obligated to supply earlier versions to you," Microsoft states in the same Windows 8 Pro agreement. "You must obtain the earlier version separately." (Source:

Microsoft: No XP For You

Downgrading usually requires consumers to purchase a PC running a premium version of the newer operating system. In this case, it's Windows 8 Pro.

Back when Windows 7 first launched, only buyers of PCs running Windows 7 Professional could downgrade to Windows Vista or Windows XP.

Because Microsoft is planning to phase out Windows XP in April 2014 (thereafter suspending technical support for users), people purchasing PCs with Windows 8 Pro will not be allowed to change to Windows XP. (Source:

Manufacturers Allowed to Sell Windows 7 PCs Until Oct. 2014

Downgrading occurs more often than one might expect. It became a particularly popular practice after the 2007 launch of Windows Vista, which was criticized by many consumers who preferred Windows XP.

Although people buying Windows 8 Pro computers will need to buy a copy of Windows 7 Professional if they want to downgrade, it is also possible for consumers to request that a manufacturer install the older OS at no charge.

Not until October 2014 will manufacturers be barred from selling Windows 7 on their computers.

Windows 8 Pro is expected to arrive at retail outlets on October 26, 2012. PCs equipped with the OS will also begin shipping that day.

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