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I've just booted a brand new Asus K75DE notebook which comes with Windows 8 pre-installed. I was amazed when the serial key was not sticked to the bottom of the laptop, and after some research I found that the serial number is embedded in the bios firmware.

The laptop is meant for one of my relatives which has next to no PC experience and the learning curve for Windows 7 was hard enough. Now, I want to install Windows 7 on this machine by downgrading. I've got a Windows 7 media and everything is prepared. I've got a couple of questions before I begin;

  • The serial number for Windows 8, is it the serial number presented at the "Serial Number" column in the first screen in bios? I'd like to know if I ever need to re-install windows 8.
  • Does the Windows 8 serial work for Windows 7?
  • An alternative is to re-enable the old "Start" button and disable the Metro UI, but this does not seem to be possible without 3rd party software (which I'm not interested in)?

For the record I'd just like to comment on how hard it was for me to just find the shut down menu and I can't imagine how hard this will be for my relative.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted
  • I cannot comment on that, but if it is a 25 digit alphanumeric key, then it most probably is your product key or serial key. You can confirm, by going to:

    Control Panel>System and Security>Action Center>Security>View activation details (Under Windows Activation) --If you are on Category view on the Control Panel

    Control Panel>Action Center>Security>View activation details (Under Windows Activation) --If you are on Large/Small icons view on the Control Panel

    This will give the last 5 digits of the key and you can check the last five digits on the BIOS to confirm

  • No you cannot use the Windows 8 key on Windows 7. But if you really want to downgrade, some laptops have downgrade rights. Read here and here to get a better understanding.

  • I don't really understand where the question is, but yes, only 3rd party apps can bring back the Start menu at the moment. If you end up wanting to use a 3rd party app, try Pokki, which is amazing, or some of the other suggestions here

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I can then surely say that the serial is not presented in any bios section. I guess I'll just have to buy a windws 7 license too. – Daniel Jan 28 '13 at 18:07
Yes, unfortunately you have to. Windows 8 itself has no downgrade rights (only Windows 8 pro as presented in the links and Mokubai's answer). You can still give those 3rd party apps a try, like Pokki or Start8 from Stardock. Not a real permanent solution but good enough to learn the Windows 8 basics at your own pace later on. – Afzal Jan 28 '13 at 18:12
If you think I answered you question, please mark my answer as accepted. Thanks! :) – Afzal Jan 28 '13 at 18:17
A third party software is not an option for me. Call me an idiot but I can't stand the thought of it. I'll mark both of your answers as solutions by tomorrow if noone else manage to turn the tables ;) – Daniel Jan 28 '13 at 18:18
Me neither. I stopped using 3rd party apps after it affected the performance and had to learn whatever's new on Windows 8. I don't have any problems with Windows 8 at the moment, but I will switch to Linux once they have Nvidia Optimus support on it for good. They should have kept an option for switching back to the classic shell and disabling this annoying Metro-UI. I don't have a touchscreen display, so the tiles are frustrating. And the gestures+charms bar seem very pointless on mice and even on my multitouch-gesture-ready trackpad – Afzal Jan 28 '13 at 18:21

Without having Windows 8 Pro installed you have no rights to a licence for Windows 7. Businesses are more likely to have a valid reason to downgrade than home users, and are also likely to have "site" licences that would cover the downgrade so them doing so is not going to be a problem to Microsoft.

As a home user you most likely have Windows 8 Home Premium and so have no rights to downgrade your licence. Your Windows 8 licence will almost certainly not work with Windows 7.

In order to downgrade you would have to purchase a valid Windows 7 licence.

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