Friday, March 19, 2010

Windows 7 OEM Downgrade Rights

If you buy Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate OEM now, you have downgrade rights not only to the worst OS to blight the computer industry since its inception (F^HVista), but also back to Microsoft's last decent OS - Windows XP Professional.  But will this last forever?

Well, according to the Downgrade Rights Chart that can be found alongside a number of other Licensing Briefs, no, you won't be able to do this forever:

Can I downgrade my OEM version of Windows 7 Professional to Windows XP Professional?

For a limited time of 18 months after the general availability of Windows 7 or the release of a Windows 7 Service Pack, whichever is earlier, the OEM license of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate will include downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional. After that period the OEM license will enable downgrade rights to Windows Vista Business.

So, as Windows 7 was available as of 22 October, 2009, that would mean that until April 2011 (unless a Windows 7 Service Pack is released in the mean time), you'll be able to downgrade your Windows 7 Pro/Ult OEM license all the way back to XP Professional.  You'll always also be able to downgrade it to F^HVista, but that's more like a brain extraction than even a lobotomy - I don't think the term "downgrade" is really even appropriate here as it is way, way too mild.

Now, having said this (and thanks again to Mark Ritchie for pointing out that people may not know about this limitation), we've not yet found a reason to downgrade any Windows 7 Pro/Ult OEM that we've sold back to XP Pro - especially considering the availability of XP Mode (and if you read my previous post, you'll know that XP Mode no longer requires Hardware Assisted Virtualization).  We most definitely wouldn't be downgrading anyone to F^HVista - that's for sure!  :)


The Outspoken Wookie

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