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If I downgrade from Windows 8.1 Pro to Windows 7 Professional, can I change my mind later on and upgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro for free?

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  • If you're going to buy a license, keep in mind that "[t]here are no downgrade rights for retail versions [...]. OEM downgrade rights apply to only Windows 8[.1] Pro and allow for downgrades for up to two earlier versions (to Windows 7 Professional and to Windows Vista Business)." Source
    – and31415
    May 6 '14 at 7:31
  • There some OEM version on Amazon website. What about them? Can they be downgrade? I am confused between OEM and retail. I thought they were the same.
    – MOON
    May 6 '14 at 11:06
  • But here it is written that end user can buy windows 8 OEM, and it is transferable. personaluselicense.windows.com/en-US/default.aspx
    – MOON
    May 6 '14 at 15:02
  • I do not have enough reputation to talk in the chat. But because the update to windows 8.1 from windows 8 is free, I assumed that windows 8.1 OEM has the same license!
    – MOON
    May 6 '14 at 15:19
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Downgrade rights

Quoting the Microsoft website:

If you do have downgrade rights and decide to use them, you continue to keep the license and rights of use for your original version and may "upgrade" back at any time.

Source: How to downgrade from Windows 8

In short: yes, you can.

Further reading

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  • @CanadianLuke All I can say is that it worked when I posted it, and still does.
    – and31415
    May 6 '14 at 7:35
  • Redacted comment. Works when I proxy through work, just not from my home May 6 '14 at 17:53
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Downgrades are not "officially supported" by Microsoft, due to the fact they want you to keep having the latest versions.

To downgrade to Windows 7, you need to disable Secure Boot (if enabled), and wipe the entire hard drive to get Windows 7 to install over top of Windows 8 (or Windows 8.1). Once you made that decision, you need a plan to go back.

Do you have a Windows 8.1 Restore Disk? If so, you can wipe Windows 7 and install the Factory-default version of Windows 8.1. If you don't, then you'll need to "find" a Windows 8.1 disk to borrow, that happens to be the same version as what came on the system. Do you have the CD-Key? If not, it's likely embedded into the BIOS, but only accessible if you have the proper Windows 8.1 DVD.

Can you do it? Possibly. Should you? Not unless you have a technical reason, in my opinion. Remember you also need to make sure you have a legal license for Windows 7 (whatever edition you want to use), and you need to make sure the system manufacturer has the drivers for Windows 7 available; otherwise, you won't be able to use your hardware (i.e. Network adapter, Wifi adapter, your monitor or graphics card at the proper resolution, etc).

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  • If I had a license for Windows 7 professional, why would I want to downgrade? I a, planning to buy Windows 8.1 Professional and then downgrade it to Windows 7 Professional. It will be the first time that I have ever bought Windows OS. Now, I have installed Windows 8.1 evaluation version. I fell it uses much more RAM than Windows 7 which I had before on my laptop with 2GB of RAM. When I open Firefox and Chrome and some other usual software around 70 to 80 percent of RAM is used. I did not have such a problem with Windows 7.
    – MOON
    May 5 '14 at 22:41
  • Windows 8.1 does not have a built in start menu, and I don't care about it's touch capabilities. I feel as if instead of a good camera(Windows 7), I have a cell phone with camera(Windows 8.1) which I do not need its communication capabilities. I really don't like that Microsoft want one OS for all devices like Tablets and laptops.
    – MOON
    May 5 '14 at 22:43

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