How To Downgrade Windows 10 To Windows 7/8.1

Do you want to downgrade Windows 10? Microsoft hopes Windows 10 executing on 1 billion PCs within the last three years. A commendable goal, but one that does not take into account is the user requirements. However, Windows 10 shares many in common with Windows 8.1. It’s the best experience upgrading from that release. For the users of Windows 7, the story might be quite different. Some older apps just work fine with the older models. If you buy a new system today, it likely will have preinstalled Windows 10. Users still have the choice, though, which is the potential to downgrade the installation to an older model of Windows, like Windows 7 or 8.1.

Downgrade Windows 10 -> Prerequisite

I strongly recommend you to follow the steps before you start this project, like:

  • The Windows 7 or 8.1 copy you like to downgrade. If you don’t have any license, you need to buy Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license. If your PC came preinstalled with Windows 10 Pro, you want to install or borrow a Windows 7 Professional/8.1 Pro disc.
  • A product key from a PC that is executing Windows 7 Professional/8.1 Pro.
  • Best hardware drivers for Windows 7/8.1.
  • External hard disk to recover your Windows 10 installation.
  • Have a copy of the Windows 10 Pro OEM product key available, just in case MS support requirements to verify it during activation. Here is how you can check it. Keep in mind, this is only for OEM pre-built Windows 10 Pro license.

Hit Windows key + X then tap Command Prompt (Admin), from the command prompt, input the following command, then press Enter on your keyboard.

wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey

Downgrade Windows 10 -> Other Choices You Must Know

How To Downgrade Windows 10

For PCs upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1/7, a limited choice is available within 30 days to rollback to your earlier version. If your upgradation is more than a month old, then you need a manual downgrade. However, if your system came with recovery media, then consult the documentation for the steps on how to reinstall Windows 7 or 8 on your PC.

If you recently buy a new PC, preinstalled with Windows 10, just to find out it does not work with your software or hardware. Or else you don’t like it. Then you might want to consider returning the PC. The hassle linked with actually downgrading is not as best and smooth sailing as you might believe.

Also, there is a demand for PCs with older models of Windows, which is what you might want. Some OEM vendors like HP, Dell, and Lenovo offer the latest model systems with a choice of Windows 7/8.1. If your PC is still in warranty, then I recommend you take benefit of it and buy an appropriate PC preinstalled with Windows 7/8.1.

Microsoft made a list of vendors who provides a selection of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 systems with the compatibility of Skylake, Intel’s latest CPU architecture. Recently Microsoft announced plans to limit Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 support for revisions of Skylake.

How To Downgrade To Windows 8.1/7

If you recently purchase a PC with Windows 10. But it is not in the warranty window, then your other best option is to manually downgrade. If your PC supports it. Here is what you want to do, to determine if you can downgrade it successfully:

  • Just check if the developers have native Windows 7/8.1 hardware drivers available. It depends on the version of the system, it is not a guarantee they do. You want important drivers like Video, Chipset, Network, Audio, and Storage to have a working system.
  • A license of Windows 7/8.1. If you don’t have any license for Windows 8.1/7, you want to buy one. If your PC came preinstalled with Windows 10 Pro, then you are entitled automatically to downgrade rights to Windows 8.1 Pro/Windows 7 Professional.

Head over to the manufacturer website, and then take a look at the downloads and drivers section of the website. Input the version number then tap OK or Go.

When your drivers have been found, the site provides an option to filter the OS. You just tap in the list box, then choose Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 depending on which model you want to downgrade. Then proceed further to download or install all the critical drivers like Audio, Chipset, Video, Network, and Storage. After installing, save them to a thumb drive until you are ready to install or download them.

Pick the right architecture or edition of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1

 Windows 7

You want to determine, the model and architecture of Windows 7 or 8.1, you will be installing. If your PC has 4 GB of RAM installed, then use a 64-bit version. If your goal is compatibility with legacy software or hardware, then 32 bit will be your best option, this will limit the amount of memory your PC will be able to address.

After exercising downgrade rights from Windows 10 Pro OEM, you can install a copy of Windows 7 or 8.1 from the software recovery page. For Windows 7 media, you want a valid product key. If you don’t have it, then the software recovery page won’t work. Your other best option is to borrow a Windows 7 Professional disc from your friend or relatives.

Turn Off Secure Boot & EFI Boot then Prepare to install Windows 7 or 8.1

Installing Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 is a relatively simple process. The method involves performing a clean install. You don’t need to perform an in-place upgrade to an older model of Windows, from within Windows 10. Before beginning the installation, you want to turn off Secure Boot and native EFI boot. This process is needed while installing Windows 7. Also, turning off Secure Boot is necessary before turning on legacy boot.

Secure Boot was first launched as part of the Windows 8 wave of PC featuring the security mechanism for securing systems from viruses. Turning off Secure Boot might vary across PC brands and versions. However, the process wants booting into the PCs firmware interface.

After successfully booting from your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 install media. Tap the option Custom (Advanced), then choose each partition, then tap delete until there is only a single, unassigned disk. Then tap New; this will create a system recovery partition. Select the larger system partition then tap Next to install your model of Windows.

Steps To Install Hardware Drivers & Update Windows

Install Hardware Drivers

After successfully installing Windows 7 or 8.1, proceed further to install the required drivers you had installed in advance. You can begin with the most critical which includes: Video, Chipset, and Network. Your Windows 8.1 or 7 installations will likely be outdated, so you must check Windows Update for the new updates then install them. Also, make sure your Antivirus utility is updated. Windows 8.1 has a built-in antivirus known as Windows Defender. Windows 7 users can install Windows Defender or another free third-party Antivirus utility.

How To Activate Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 License

When you have Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 up and executing, you want to enable your license. It depends on the options selected or available, this process should be reliable or smooth. If you had to buy a retail or OEM system builder license, then you need a standard Internet activation.

Options include borrowing a Windows 7 Professional/Windows 8/8.1 Pro key from your loved ones. The goal is not to use the key to enable the license but to exercise downgrade rights itself. Just use a product key from a computer preinstalled with an OEM Windows 7 Professional or 8/8.1 Pro license.

Hit Windows key + R then type slui.exe 4 then press Enter on your keyboard. Choose your country from the list box, The select the Phone Activation option. Stay on the mobile, then wait until Microsoft Answer Tech to help you with activation. Keep in mind you must say“I am exercising downgrade rights.”

Disable/Turn Off Get Windows 10

Now you are back on qualifying models of Windows, you will get the notification to upgrade to Windows 10.

When you do plan to upgrade to Windows 10 in the future, you can pick the in-place upgrade route, or back up the system image you had just created in advance. However, if you have accumulated data on the PC, recover it first, then back up the system image.


That’s all about it. I hope it is helpful. If you want to ask anything regarding this guide then let us know below!

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