The Downgrade Upgrade

We can’t verify that Microsoft will make a last-minute decision to support the XP operating system. But we can tell you that nothing has shaken our belief that you should replace XP with Windows 7 because Windows 8 and 8.1 are a disaster for business. If you have Windows 8 or 8.1 Professional, you can upgrade your capabilities by “downgrading” to Windows 7 Professional. There is no charge for the software.

Downgrade rights are an end-user right that Microsoft offers for certain OEM products that meet specific technical requirements.  In practical terms, just about any computer or server from a manufacturer with a Microsoft Windows license can be eligible. You can tell from the codes on the stickers placed on your computer in the factory.

For Windows-based computers, you can take advantage of your “downgrade” right if you have Professional or Premium versions of your operating system. For example, if you have a computer with Windows 8 or 8.1 Professional, you can replace it with Windows 7 Professional.

If you are so moved, you can even go down the chain from Windows 7 Professional to Vista Business and then to XP Professional. Needless to say, we don’t recommend it.

Nor do we recommend that you install the “downgrade” from Windows 8 or 8.1 to 7 by yourself. The first reason is that you must have the actual disk for the new OS. While you can create a recovery disk when you set up a new computer (how many of you did that?), most users don’t have a readily available disk.

Second, you will need to migrate all your data and programs to the new OS. That requires having the proper systems for backing up and restoring everything. You can lose any advantage of an OS switch if you lose your data.

In addition to covering computers, the right to upgrade by downgrading applies to certain Windows servers.

Understanding all of your available options can be daunting and confusing. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to set up an appointment to discuss your options to upgrade your computing capabilities by downgrading your Windows OS version.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.