Downgrade Windows 8 to Windows 7 / Vista

A customer recently purchased a new computer with Windows 8 OEM pre-installed.  After 24 hours it became apparent that getting it to work with the array of applications and the old Windows 2000 Exchange Server was going to be nearly impossible.  So they asked us to downgrade the computer to Windows 7.  This proved to be more difficult than we first thought…

Things we needed before starting…

  1. Windows 8 Pro preinstalled (Home edition is NOT eligible for downgrade)
  2. Windows 7 Pro OEM installation disk
  3. Windows 7 Pro OEM product key (a used one is fine)
  4. Backup of all the users data

Things we needed to change before installation…

We needed to make changes to the BIOS.  As it was an ASUS bios we had to change the following:

  1.  Disable Secure Boot Mode (set to Non-Windows 8 OS)
  2. Enable CSM (UEFI Compatibility Support Module) to allow booting Windows 7 from the DVD

Once those changes have been made we can now proceed to downgrade to Windows 7.

  1. Insert the Windows 7 OEM disk into the DVD ROM and boot from the DVD
  2. Once the installer starts proceed to install the operating system.  When requested, choose the correct operating system that matches the product key available (which should be Pro edition)
  3. Continue to install windows and all the drivers as normal

Now that Windows is installed you will need to contact Microsoft to engage your downgrade rights.  To do this simply start the Windows Activation process and choose Activate by telephone.  Choose your country and then call your local Microsoft activation centre.  They will provide you with a Windows 7 downgrade activation and you’re done!


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