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When reinstalling Windows 7, does the language, version, architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) or source (OEM, retail, or MSDN) matter?

I am currently running Windows 7 Enterprise RTM which is part of my MSDN subscription. However I need to downgrade to Professional on one of my machines. In Vista you could change between certain editions by providing the product key and re-activating, however this does not work in Windows 7.

How can I switch editions with a valid product key without having to re-install?

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Out of interest, why would one need to downgrade Windows? I cannot think of a reason :) – NickG May 7 '15 at 14:49
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Downgrading to a lower SKU is not possible, from what I know. Windows 7 Enterprise is a superset of Professional, so your only option is reinstalling, from my knowledge.

The same thing is true in Vista, you can only upgrade, not downgrade (Home Premium to Business was allowed, the other way around was not allowed).

Edit: here's the official response from Microsoft, courtesy of Mary-Jo Foley:

So the answer is no, you can't use WAU to move from Windows 7 Enterprise to Windows 7 Professional because that would essentially be a downgrade. Windows 7 Enterprise is just like Windows 7 Ultimate, all of the features are part of the SKU.

What WAU is meant to do is allow users to add more features to Windows 7 by upgrading to a higher edition without having to go through a time-consuming re-installation process. There are a variety of scenarios in which a user may choose to upgrade after the initial purchase, including:

  1. A consumer purchases a PC pre-installed with Windows 7 Starter and wants to turn it into the best PC for entertainment.
  2. A customer purchases Windows 7 Home Premium, but realizes they need Professional features including Domain Join, which provides the ability to add the computer to a company or school network.
  3. Someone purchases a PC pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Premium and wants to experience of all of what Windows 7 has to offer with Windows 7 Ultimate.
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You could also switch between Enterprise and Business. – BinaryMisfit Aug 28 '09 at 9:09
Windows 7 Enterprise has more features than 7 Professional (you can see this here:…); from what I know, if it's a superset of another SKU, you cannot downgrade. – alex Aug 28 '09 at 9:17
I emailed Mary Jo Foley to see if it's possible to do what you want. Here's her answer: "I am thinking the answer is no.... I know Enterprise is available to Software Assurance users only. I will double check for you but I'm thinking the answer is no based on these kinds of charts:…; Hope this helps. – alex Aug 31 '09 at 14:17
It is possible. See my answer. – Jim L. Aug 21 '14 at 2:09

There is a way! See my answer to Change Windows 7 Edition after install. I successfully downgraded from an unregistered Ultimate to a registered Professional edition.

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protected by nhinkle Jun 28 '11 at 1:52

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