Windows 7 Downgrade Rights – Your choice Vista or Windows XP – For a Limited Time

(republishing from archived my blog site)

Several news articles are out in circulation regarding the recent announcement that Windows XP will be an optional selection for the downgrade rights, which has spurred a lot of questions at the SB2@TS2 events around the reasoning behind this decision.  When this first came to my attention over a week ago when it was first raised by Partners in Fort Worth, I contacted the product team to gain some insight into the decision because I was both confused and disheartened by the notion until I really understood the reasoning for the choice.


I'm going to share some of the Q&A Highlights I received from my colleague that is part of the Windows Client team since they are very similar to the questions that came up last week and today.   This is the "official verbiage" so enjoy the Microsoft speak. 


So does Microsoft have downgrade rights for Windows XP planned as part of Windows 7?

Yes. OEM Downgrade rights will be available for 6 months post Windows 7 General Availability (aka Launch). This is not the first time that Microsoft has offered downgrade rights to a version other than its immediate predecessor and our Volume Licensing customers can always downgrade to any previous version of Windows. 

Why is Microsoft allowing customers to downgrade to Windows XP from Windows 7, is it because of the poor reception of the marketplace to Windows Vista?

  • This is not the first time that Microsoft has offered downgrade rights to a version other than its immediate predecessor.  In fact, our Volume Licensing customers can ALWAYS downgrade to any previous version of Windows. 

What is this about Windows 7? Why are you already taking about downgrades of Windows 7 when it hasn’t even been released yet?

  • During the development process, we communicate to OEMs the roadmap for End User downgrade rights in OEM versions of the next OS. 

What about Windows 7, when will that be available?

  • We’re not making any new announcements about Windows 7 availability at this time.  As we have said, we are currently in the development stages for Windows 7 and expect it will take approximately 3 years from Windows Vista Consumer GA to develop. The specific release date will be determined once Microsoft meets its quality bar for release.

What are downgrade rights, and why does Microsoft offer them?

  • The product License Terms (formerly known as the end-user license agreement [EULA], for Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Business products, grant customers end-user downgrade rights, which allow customers to uninstall the software that is preinstalled on their PC and to install a legally licensed copy of an older version of Windows software.  The customer also retains the right to use the newer version of Windows Vista that came installed on their PC when they chose to, making a future upgrade back to the original version of Windows Vista easy!

My organization isn’t ready to move to Windows Vista software. What should we do?

  • Microsoft recommends customers complete their testing and evaluation of Windows Vista software and determine the right time to migrate existing and new PCs to Windows Vista software.  For many customers and businesses, the most simple migration plan is to move to Windows Vista software as new PCs are acquired. If however, your business requires use of Windows XP Professional on new PCs and if you are running Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate you have the automatic right to run a previous version of Windows on your PC for the life of your PC.

What is the downgrade rights policy?

  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows Professional x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
  • PC manufacturers (OEMs) shipping Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate are able to order Windows XP media to help support their customers’ needs for a previous version of Windows software.

How long will I be able to obtain downgrade media from my PC maker?

  • For new PCs that come pre-installed with Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate, downgrade media may be provided by an OEM for Windows XP. Customers should check with their OEM directly to see if downgrade media is offered. Once installed on your PC, you can continue to use a previous version of Windows for the service life of that PC, or until you are ready to upgrade back to your originally-installed copy of Windows Vista.



If you'd like to read some of the articles that brought all this about, try the links below.



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