Windows 7 Downgrade Rights

 

The most popular article on this blog in 2010? That’s Office Downgrade Rights. So a new blog post for 2011 covers Microsoft Windows Downgrade Rights.

  1. You cannot downgrade a retail copy of Windows. Downgrade rights are not granted under FPP system licenses. Please refer to the applicable license terms for your retail copy of Windows.
  2. The OEM License Terms for Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate operating systems grant downgrade rights.
  3. Downgrade rights are granted in connection with OS licenses acquired through Volume Licensing, FPP, and OEM and enrolled in Software Assurance coverage.
  4. Software Assurance must be attached to the Windows OS within 90 days of date the licenses are acquired.
  5. Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) provides download access only to the current (N) and the prior version (N-1)

Transition to Windows 7 – Timeline

  1. Microsoft communicated to OEMs at the RTM of Windows 7 (July, 2009) that SP1 version of Windows 7 would NOT contain Downgrade rights to XP Pro
  2. Microsoft expected it SP1 to RTM 18 months after General Availability of Windows 7.
  3. However, in July, 2010 Microsoft changed their position on this point and communicated that there would be Downgrade rights to XP Pro in Windows 7 for the life of the OS.  
  4. OEM pre-installation of XP Pro at manufacture, of devices with Window 7 Pro and Ultimate and Vista Business/Ultimate COAs on them stopped on October 23rd 2010. 
  5. End Users of PCs with Windows 7 Pro and Ultimate – have the right to downgrade to XP Pro. (They will have it for as long as they own the device)
  6. End Users of Vista Business and Ultimate COAs on them – have the right to downgrade to XP Pro. (They will have it for as long as they own the device)
  7. OEMs cannot place XP Pro at manufacture of Windows 7 devices. 
  8. What the OEMs can do after October 22, 2010, if they elect to do so, is distribute XP Pro Downgrade software media to end users of Win7/Vista devices that have Downgrade rights post-purchase upon the end users request

image

  1. The customer may use any media kit provided the software meets the downgrade rights criteria (edition,version).
  2. They don’t have to go back to their System Builder and ask for the software to be installed and pre-activated.
  3. The pre-activation set forth in the System Builder Agreement applies to the system builder when he builds and sells the PC. 
  4. When downgrading to Windows XP, VL media may be used as long as the customer has an appropriate key.
  5. A  customer who downgrades can later return to the version that he bought, e.g. Windows 7 > XP > Windows 7.

Windows Downgrade Rights in the PUR
  • Windows 7 Professional may be downgraded to either Windows Vista Business or Windows XP Professional.
  • Vista Business may be downgraded to Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 or 3.51.
  • Customers who are licensed to use Windows 7 Enterprise may use Windows Vista Enterprise in place of the version they have licensed.
  • Microsoft has extended the above downgrade rights under Windows 7 Professional Upgrade to allow downgrade to Windows 98 or Windows 95.
  • Windows Millennium and Windows XP Home Edition are not prior versions of Windows 7 Professional.

Microsoft Product List, December 2010, Page 96 of 142

Downgrade” right for Windows 7 Professional licenses

Volume licensing customers with a license for Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business are eligible to use a prior version in place of the version they have licensed. Eligible Prior versions of Vista Business include Windows XP Professional Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 or 3.51.

Customers who are licensed to use Windows 7 Enterprise may use Windows Vista Enterprise in place of the version they have licensed.

Microsoft has extended the above downgrade rights under Windows 7 Professional Upgrade to allow you to downgrade to Windows 98 or Windows 95. If the customer exercises this right to use a prior qualifying Windows operating system for which there is Microsoft Plus! Software available, the customer may also use the appropriate Microsoft Plus! Software. For example, a customer who enrolls Windows 7 Professional under Software Assurance may choose to use Windows 98 and Microsoft Plus! For Windows 98 instead of Windows 7 Professional. Windows Millennium and Windows XP Home Edition are not prior versions of Windows 7 Professional.

Check out these Downgrade caveats on the December Product List for customers who need Office Enterprise 2007 and Small Business Edition 2007 but don’t have a downgrade path.

Microsoft Product List, December 2010, Page 85 of 142

Downgrade Right for Office Professional Plus 2010:

Software Assurance customers who have deployed Office Enterprise 2007 only (i.e., are not using any other edition of Office in their organization), and need additional seats of Office Enterprise 2007, may purchase licenses for Office Professional Plus 2010 and downgrade to Office Enterprise 2007. No other downgrades from Office Professional Plus 2010 to Office Enterprise 2007 are permitted.

Software Assurance customers who have deployed Office Small Business Edition 2007 only (i.e., are not using any other edition of Office in their organization), and need additional seats of Office Small Business Edition 2007, may purchase licenses for Office Professional Plus 2010 and downgrade to Office Small Business Edition 2007. No other downgrades from Office Professional Plus 2010 to Office Small Business Edition 2007 are permitted.


OEM Versions of Windows 7 Eligible for Downgrade

This is referenced from the Microsoft website

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 include 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.

image


OEM Versions of Windows Vista Eligible for Downgrade

This is referenced from the Microsoft website

Only certain OEM versions of Windows Vista include downgrade rights.

  • Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate include downgrade rights to:
    • Windows XP Professional, or
    • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, or
    • Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

Windows Vista downgrade path

Other OEM Windows Vista versions (for instance, Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Home Premium) do not include downgrade rights.


Next let’s look at a qualifying Windows OS for Windows 7 Professional Upgrade in Volume Licensing. The qualified base license depends on both the Agreement type and version and if its a new or existing Agreement

Qualifying OS

Any operating system not listed above is not a qualifying OS

  1. Embedded Systems (Windows XP embedded) do not qualify for the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade
  2. Linux or OS/2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS/2 does not qualify for the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade

As you might not be aware, Microsoft provides upgrade licenses under their Volume License programs.

OS full

 

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