Windows 7 Downgrade Rights

Downgrade rights enable customers to continue running Windows Vista or Windows XP after obtaining a Windows 7 license. Downgrading is simple, and this resource makes it straightforward for you to understand the process.


Customers must:
  • Purchase a PC preinstalled with Windows 7.
  • Accept the Windows 7 Software License Terms.
  • Perform the downgrade or authorize an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to perform it.
  • See additional details and FAQ.
The Downgrade Process
Follow these steps to downgrade to a previous version of Windows:

  • Obtain genuine Windows XP Professional or Tablet PC Edition and a corresponding product key.  The media should come from a prior legally licensed version from the OEM or Retail channels. Additionally an end user, who is licensed separately through Microsoft Volume Licensing (VL) programs, may provide their VL media and key to their system builder to use to facilitate the downgrade on only their systems.
  • Insert Windows XP Professional or Tablet PC Edition media in the CD drive and follow the installation instructions.
  • Type the product key. If the software was previously activated, you will not be able to activate it online. In this case, the appropriate local Activation Support phone number will be displayed. Call the number and explain the circumstances. When it is determined that the end user has an eligible Windows license, the customer service representative will provide a single-use activation code to activate the software. Please note that Microsoft does not provide a full product key in this scenario.
  • Activate the software.
Also see the Step-by-Step Guide and FAQ for Windows 7 for customers.

OEM Versions of Windows 7 Eligible for Downgrade
Only certain OEM versions of Windows 7 include downgrade rights:

  • Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate include downgrade rights to Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate.
  • Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate temporarily includes downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, or Windows XP x64 Edition.
  • Other OEM Windows 7 versions (for instance, Windows 7 Home Basic and Windows 7 Home Premium) do not include downgrade rights.