Windows Downgrade Rights demystified: OEM versions of Windows 7, Vista & Windows Server Software that are eligible for Downgrade Rights

Downgrade rights for Windows Server, Windows 7 & Vista are an end-user right, documented in the Software License Terms that customers accept upon first running Windows software.

If customers need a previous version of Windows, they can exercise downgrade rights. This end user right, documented in the License Terms of certain versions of Windows products, allow customers to acquire the most recent version of Microsoft software but continue to run a previous version until they are ready to upgrade.

1. Downgrade Rights for Windows 7 Desktop Software

Customers must:
– Purchase a PC preinstalled with Windows 7.
– Accept the Windows 7 Software License Terms.
– Perform the downgrade or authorize a third party to install on their behalf

Note: Windows 7 end user downgrade rights will be available through the sales lifecycle of Windows 7 which is up to two years after the launch date of a new version.

For more information about Windows lifecycle and Windows product availability policies, click here.

OEM Versions of Windows 7 Eligible for Downgrade

Download: Downgrade Rights Guide for Windows 7 (.pdf)

2. Downgrade Rights for Windows Vista Desktop Software

Customers must:
– Purchase a PC preinstalled with Windows Vista.
– Accept the Windows Vista End User Software License Terms.
– Perform the downgrade or authorize a third party to install on their behalf.

OEM Versions of Windows Vista Eligible for Downgrade

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

Download: Downgrade Rights Guide for Windows Vista (.pdf)

3. Downgrade Rights for Windows Server Software

Customers must:
– Purchase a PC preinstalled with Windows Server 2008.
– Accept the Windows Server 2008 End User Software License Terms.
– Perform the downgrade or authorize an OEM to perform it.

OEM Versions of Windows Server Eligible for Downgrade

Authorizing a Third Party to Exercise Downgrade Rights for an End User
Provided certain requirements are met, an end user may request that another party perform the downgrade on their behalf.
Important: Because this is an end user right, it is not primarily designed to be facilitated by another party because it has many complications. It is also not designed to be replicated on a large scale.

See End User Downgrade Rights Facilitation Options (.pdf)

Source: Microsoft OEM

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