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If I buy a full retail Windows 8 license am I granted the right to install a down-level version of Windows, specifically Windows 7, instead? Just to be clear: I buy a full retail Windows 8 license - full version (not upgrade) and retail, not OEM. But rather than installing Windows 8, I want to run Windows 7. Is this allowed?

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No, not allowed. Why would you expect the license for product A to be valid for product B? –  Wolph Apr 23 '13 at 21:54
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In addition to the comment above (in which I say it's not allowed), there are a few exceptions: microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/pages/… –  Wolph Apr 23 '13 at 21:56
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@WoLpH: Because the world ought to make sense, most of the time. Alas, not this time. –  Robert Harvey Apr 23 '13 at 21:56
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@Howiecamp: fair enough :) For a company like Microsoft however there is very little incentive to allow this. I follow your rationale though, I had the same when I got a laptop with Windows Vista some time ago... would have preferred XP instead. –  Wolph Apr 23 '13 at 21:59
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

No. Downgrade rights (which is what I assume you're thinking of) only applied to the Vista/XP era.

If you want to buy a license for Windows 7, there is nothing stopping you from purchasing an OEM license, or buying it outright from an online retailer.

Unless you buy an OEM license of Windows 8, which more information is available here.

http://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/pages/downgrade_rights.aspx#fbid=dVb0lSch56Y

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not being a dick, but the QA said I buy a full retail Windows 8 license - full version (not upgrade) and retail, not OEM. –  Lorenzo Von Matterhorn Apr 23 '13 at 21:59
    
@Robert Harvey - OEM licenses are locked to the original hardware though. –  Howiecamp Apr 23 '13 at 22:07
    
@Znau: If the OP bought the System Builder version (there's no full retail version like for previous versions of Windows), then that is the OEM version. –  Karan Apr 24 '13 at 0:33
    
@Howiecamp: No, if you bought the System Builder version for personal usage then the Personal Use License applies to you, and the license can be transferred. –  Karan Apr 24 '13 at 0:37
    
@Howiecamp - The only OEM licenses that can be transfered are licenses sold by one of the major OEMs. The Windows 8 System Builder license purchase by a non-OEM converts to a Personal Use license as Karan points out. –  Ramhound Apr 24 '13 at 15:27
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