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Author Topic: Windows 8 Pro will now include option to downgrade to Windows 7  (Read 3972 times)
40hz
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« on: September 13, 2012, 03:35:36 PM »

From the Department of "So Much for Doubling Down" comes this bit of news as reported by PC World and several other sites:

Quote
Microsoft Will Allow Downgrades From Windows 8 to Windows 7 , Vista
By Gregg Keizer, Computerworld   

Microsoft will allow users of Windows 8 Pro to downgrade their new PCs to Windows 7 or even Vista, according to the operating system's licensing agreement.

Not surprisingly, users may not downgrade to the still-used-but-slated-for-retirement Windows XP.

Downgrade rights -- which let customers replace a newer version of Windows with an older edition without paying for two copies -- are available only in Windows 8 Pro. That fits with previous practice: Only Windows 7 Professional, for instance, was allocated downgrade rights.

"Instead of using the Windows 8 Pro software, you may use one of the following earlier versions: Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business," states the software license agreement for the version of Windows 8 Pro that will be installed by computer makers (OEMs) on new PCs.

<Read full article here>

It's interesting that PC sales have tanked disastrously in the last six months for many computer manufacturers. And that despite the fact that server and network device sales have increased significantly.  Much of the loss of PC revenue has been blamed on tablets and smartphone sales. But I wonder if that's the whole - or more significant reason.

In the past,  the introduction of a new version of Windows has generally been counted on to boost PC sales. This time around however, I wonder if there is enough concern (especially in business circles) that corporate buyers are hesitant to commit to larger numbers of PC purchases out of concern for potential productivity issues that might be introduced by Microsoft's new dream child?

I can't speak for all businesses, but I've installed the Windows 8 Release Preview on some laptops and ran it past a few of my clients. I did not hear one positive thing said about it by any of them. About the best reaction it got was a worried "I guess we'll have to see" that was immediately followed by a concerned "How soon did you say this is gonna be Windows?" And most reactions to the Metro front end ranged from negative to unprintable.

However, now that it's official you can downgrade, it will be interesting to see if desktop PC sales start making a recovery. Obviously they'll never return to their former level of sales now that so many niche alternatives are available. But it is interesting that the drop was so precipitous that several (usually) savvy PC manufacturers were caught completely off guard by it.

If you're in IT, it's gonna be a "fun" Fall, that's for sure. undecided


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SeraphimLabs
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2012, 03:50:22 PM »

Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot with Windows 8.

I'm amazed they managed to even get Vista/7 accepted in the marketplace, with the initial reactions that Aero and Ribbon got.

If anyone feels like having Linux take over the world, now would be a good time to make your move. Tell the world that they have alternatives to Microsoft and Apple.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2012, 03:50:57 PM »

My rough instinct at this time might just be the Plugin approach. I'd presume Win8 would include modern updated support for *something* under the hood, so that support is usually nice to have on hand. This is sounding like a WasMetro-must-die situation, so by X time next year any of 3-5 companies should have a plugin-type widget that just yanks it into a corner and back comes Mr. Desktop.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2012, 03:55:04 PM »

Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot with Windows 8.

I'm amazed they managed to even get Vista/7 accepted in the marketplace, with the initial reactions that Aero and Ribbon got.

If anyone feels like having Linux take over the world, now would be a good time to make your move. Tell the world that they have alternatives to Microsoft and Apple.

For those of us who held on and skipped Vista and went straight to 7, I for one shall report that 7 is just fine and all the techies who cared just turned off Aero in fifteen minutes (as soon as we figured out where they moved all the options to!) Same deal for the ribbon - I installed a plugin into Office that put all the old menus back, and went back to work. (However see elsewhere for my opinions how the game changes when you can *make your own ribbons!*)

This new time around will be a bit tougher, because of the conceptual change. However, from the my-machine-is-mine dept, I'll use it any way I see fit.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2012, 03:57:27 PM »

P.S. Anyone know whatever evolved with Windows DRM, which was rumored to spy on your media usages and possibly report some of that back to MS?
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40hz
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2012, 04:28:46 PM »

For those of us who held on and skipped Vista and went straight to 7, I for one shall report that 7 is just fine and all the techies who cared just turned off Aero in fifteen minutes (as soon as we figured out where they moved all the options to!)

Spot on! Thmbsup (I never run with Aero. Haven't from day one either.) However, most smart money thinks Metro (or whatever they end up calling it) will be difficult or nigh on impossible (by design) to disable. Just like it was almost impossible, for a while at least, to completely remove IE without breaking Windows.

It's not gonna go away (or get stuffed on a back shelf with the Christmas ornaments) without Microsoft putting up a fight. Microsoft does not simply walk away from a major investment in coding - or voluntarily admit their design or paradigm was wrong.

Quote
Same deal for the ribbon - I installed a plugin into Office that put all the old menus back, and went back to work. (However see elsewhere for my opinions how the game changes when you can *make your own ribbons!*)

Also a valid point. Unfortunately, with the industry trend of gradually moving over to more controlled ecosystems, 3rd-party "fixes" and hacks are going to become harder to come by. Microsoft wouldn't even need to be as draconian as Apple with their arbitrary and capricious AppStore policies. They could simply add a license clause to their programming tools that specifically forbids a developer from distributing software that disables or "works around" fundamental Windows (or other product) features and capabilities.

"When your enemy goes to ground, leave them no ground to  go to." as was said in Serenity. Which is smart. Because you don't need to control what your users do so long as you can control what most of the platform's developers do.

And while jailbreaking is always an alternative, that's a arduous trail that has no ending. We don't want to go there - even if we can. Trust me on this one! I've done the "crack your iPhone" thing. It's far more trouble than it's worth in the long run...unless you get off on that sort of thing.

In my case, I just wanted to be able use my phone - not make a whole career out of playing tit-for-tat techwar with Apple. (Note: My next phone won't be an iPhone because of that. I'd rather just get something new than flack with a company about how their product works.)

 Cool

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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2012, 05:18:28 PM »

Interesting points 40hz. That's about where I shall leave the topic - my predictions and guesses vs yours going a slightly different way. All that remains now is to just the clock run and wait for the live data to show up.
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40hz
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2012, 05:41:53 PM »

@Tao - FWIW I sincerely hope you are right and I am completely wrong about this. My outlook has been pretty bleak when it come to where this technology is heading. And I much prefer the future your vision perceives.

No joke. I want to be dead wrong about all of this. I really do. smiley Thmbsup
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2012, 05:52:25 PM »

@Tao - FWIW I sincerely hope you are right and I am completely wrong about this. My outlook has been pretty bleak when it come to where this technology is heading. And I much prefer the future your vision perceives.

No joke. I want to be dead wrong about all of this. I really do. smiley Thmbsup

Awww. That's nice of you!

(Parody) Snack Idea! List the future-looking predictions you want to keep track of then wait until time has passed and then pull them back up! (Nah, save your coding skillz, that could just be in a text file, I'm just too disorganized.)
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2012, 07:18:53 PM »

I want to thank Microsoft for Windows 8 - I really do.

I published an article in 3 local newsletters about what is coming in Windows 8 and have got a lot of work building new Windows 7 boxes and upgrading Vista and XP before 7 disappears off the shelves.

Thanks Microsoft. ;-)
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2012, 07:26:17 PM »

I want to thank Microsoft for Windows 8 - I really do.

I published an article in 3 local newsletters about what is coming in Windows 8 and have got a lot of work building new Windows 7 boxes and upgrading Vista and XP before 7 disappears off the shelves.

Thanks Microsoft. ;-)

Please write a blog post about this so I can share  Grin Grin
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40hz
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2012, 08:07:02 PM »

I want to thank Microsoft for Windows 8 - I really do.

I published an article in 3 local newsletters about what is coming in Windows 8 and have got a lot of work building new Windows 7 boxes and upgrading Vista and XP before 7 disappears off the shelves.

Thanks Microsoft. ;-)

Please write a blog post about this so I can share  Grin Grin

 Grin Grin Grin Yes. Please do!  Thmbsup Thmbsup Thmbsup
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2012, 02:59:12 AM »

The article also mentioned this:

Quote
Traditionally, downgrade rights are available only from OEM copies of Windows, those that are pre-installed by computer manufacturers. It looks to be the same with Windows 8: The software license for the retail version of Windows 8 Pro omitted the section on downgrades.
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40hz
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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2012, 07:01:55 AM »

@ewemoa - Thanks for pointing that out. It's an important limitation to be aware of.

I find it ironic that the more expensive 'full' or 'retail' license carries fewer privileges than the less expensive OEM license does.

I guess Microsoft has seen fit to reverse the old "you get what you pay for" adage when it comes to their retail customers.
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2012, 07:08:22 AM »

It makes sense from a business perspective.  Not defending it, but without those abilities, they'd slow down the sales of components, computers, and a lot of other associated services every time they released an OS.
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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2012, 01:39:01 AM »

I find it ironic that the more expensive 'full' or 'retail' license carries fewer privileges than the less expensive OEM license does.

Is it the case that OEM licenses are purchased in bulk by OEMs?
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40hz
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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2012, 06:27:18 AM »

I find it ironic that the more expensive 'full' or 'retail' license carries fewer privileges than the less expensive OEM license does.

Is it the case that OEM licenses are purchased in bulk by OEMs?


^Nope. If you're a 'builder' you can get them in single quantities as long as you buy them at the same time you buy 'qualifying hardware' such as a mobo. Maybe the price isn't anywhere near as good as what Dell or HP get. (Rumors put it between $35 and $50 for the big quantity buyers.) But it's still substantially below retail. At Newegg, Win 7 Pro-64 is $139 for OEM, but $274 for the 'full' retail version.

It's important to know however that the OEM version is only licensed for the specific machine it's purchased for. It's not transferable to another machine - and doesn't come with any tech support from Microsoft. (See below) Which is something to keep in mind if you're building PCs for business clients or other customers. Note too that the OEM license isn't intended for personal use. It's only supposed to be purchased for machines being built for resale. Yup! It is. naughty

Quote
Disclaimer: Use of this OEM System Builder Channel software is subject to the terms of the Microsoft OEM System Builder License. This software is intended for pre-installation on a new personal computer for resale. This OEM System Builder Channel software requires the assembler to provide end user support for the Windows software and cannot be transferred to another computer once it is installed. To acquire Windows software with support provided by Microsoft please see our full package "Retail" product offerings.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2012, 06:53:46 AM »

Interesting question about the downgrade - I thought all OEMs had to lock the BIOS to Windows 8 so that no other operating system can be installed.

How would go about installing Windows 7 on a machine locked to Windows 8?
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wraith808
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« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2012, 06:57:03 AM »

^Nope. If you're a 'builder' you can get them in single quantities as long as you buy them at the same time you buy 'qualifying hardware' such as a mobo. Maybe the price isn't anywhere near as good as what Dell or HP get. (Rumors put it between $35 and $50 for the big quantity buyers.) But it's still substantially below retail. At Newegg, Win 7 Pro-64 is $139 for OEM, but $274 for the 'full' retail version.

That's just from third-parties who have purchased OEM versions in bulk that you re-purchase them from (that have creatively interpreted the license), isn't that correct?
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40hz
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« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2012, 07:30:34 AM »

@wraith -

Actually, it's not really a creative reinterpretation of the license at all. Microsoft did specifically take "small shop" and "custom builders" into consideration when they did the "builder OEM" license. That question came up in the partner channel when it was first announced. And yeah, you won't find the OEM version in stores AFAIK. You need to order it from someone like Tiger, Newegg, or one of those places.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2012, 07:39:52 AM by 40hz » Logged

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40hz
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« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2012, 09:01:07 AM »

Interesting question about the downgrade - I thought all OEMs had to lock the BIOS to Windows 8 so that no other operating system can be installed.

How would go about installing Windows 7 on a machine locked to Windows 8?

Good question although no manufacturers are formally required to lock the UEFI to Win 8. But I guess we'll have to wait this Fall for Windows 8 (with "M-Troll") to take its bow.

I'm guessing arrangements and accommodations will be made by Microsoft. They can't afford to let it elevate and become an issue. Apple loves confrontation. Microsoft has always preferred the "camel with a nose in the tent" approach.
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wraith808
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« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2012, 09:22:45 AM »

@wraith -

Actually, it's not really a creative reinterpretation of the license at all. Microsoft did specifically take "small shop" and "custom builders" into consideration when they did the "builder OEM" license. That question came up in the partner channel when it was first announced. And yeah, you won't find the OEM version in stores AFAIK. You need to order it from someone like Tiger, Newegg, or one of those places.

And this is also why when I bought my mac at Bestbuy (since they're the same price anyway, their markups don't matter, and its one of the times when having a rewardzone membership pays off) and when he offered me a $200 copy of windows 7 and I said that I'd buy my copy of windows from Newegg he looked at me with a dirty look.  Cool
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« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2012, 01:10:55 PM »

So I guess my question is how does one get a copy of Windows 7 and serial if you have downgrade rights from Win 8 Pro, without paying for cd and piece of paper (serial#)?

I hear all this talk about downgrade blah blah.. but nothing about how to obtain downgrade disc and serial.  tellme
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40hz
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« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2012, 01:37:48 PM »

So I guess my question is how does one get a copy of Windows 7 and serial if you have downgrade rights from Win 8 Pro, without paying for cd and piece of paper (serial#)?

I hear all this talk about downgrade blah blah.. but nothing about how to obtain downgrade disc and serial.  tellme



It's not blah-blah-blah. Most people who need to do downgrades are already up on the technical details of how to do it. You're probably puzzled since Microsoft doesn't go out of its way to encourage people to downgrade - or furnish a lot of info on how. That's because they mostly leave it to the PC manufacturers to create the mechanism for downgrading. And the exact details can vary by manufacturer. So unless you've done a downgrade before, it can seem confusing.

But here's how it works based on what I've seen:

Usually a machine shipping with version X of an OS that includes rights to downgrade to a previous version will include both the old and the new OS disks.

Please note that "downgrade" in this scenario usually means the the older OS will completely overwrite the drive the newer OS is on. It's seldom possible to do an "in-place" OS downgrade like you would an upgrade. But you'll need to look at the specifics when Windows 8 comes out as to how that's going to work. It may have changed by the time Win 8 is released.

When most users elect to do a downgrade, they usually do it when they first receive their new machine. You unbox, boot off the supplied DVD for the older system, and then do an OEM "factory fresh" install. This is an installation script the PC manufacturer has created, so it's not like a standard Windows installation. In most cases you just boot from a DVD and wait for it to finish doing its thing. Usually no user input is required other than to say it's ok to do it. Once that's done, you do your basic setup and license acceptance, then activate and use the older version OS just like you would if the PC had originally shipped with it installed.

I'm not sure if the downgrade privilege will be available for the "over the counter" OEM builder disk license. If it is, you may be able to use any old copy of Win 7 and use your new Win 8 key to activate it. But it may not be a totally transparent procedure, in which case you'll need to call Microsoft directly for some help with the activation. (Provided it is allowed to begin with.)

I'm guessing the downgrade won't be allowed unless your copy of Win 8 came pre-installed on a new machine that specifically includes the downgrade option. In the past, it's usually been more expensive to get that option since downgrade privileges  didn't apply to home versions of Windows. Only the Pro and higher versions.

Hope that clarifies things for you.  smiley
« Last Edit: September 16, 2012, 02:03:33 PM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2012, 04:18:25 PM »

@40hz

The reason I said blah blah was because there are quite a few tech magazines that talk about downgrading but never quite give any detailed info in how to do it. They seem to gloss over the subject. You would think some of those mags would explain it in layman terms.

To be honest, I am still confused how I would explain to someone the downgrade procedure and how to obtain win7 without some sort of payment.

Regardless, you did answer some my questions. thanks.  smiley
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