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How Do I Downgrade from Windows 8 or 10 to Windows 7?

Question: I have a laptop with Windows 10 and I want to downgrade it to Windows 7 but unfortunately, to go about this seems very confusing. Can you assist me or provide me with the steps to go about doing the downgrade? In addition, can you let me know if there are any setbacks that I’ll face if in fact I do perform this downgrade successfully?

Downgrading is a pretty simple process. It’s not easy, but it is simple.

I am going to start by trying to talk you out of doing it at all. In my mind, there is rarely a reason to downgrade from Windows 10 or 8.1 to Windows 7. But knowing that sometimes there are reasons, I will tell you how.

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Windows 7 is fine – but then so is 10

Now, I want to be clear about one thing: Windows 7 is a fine operating system. Folks who are running Windows 7 and are happy with it may not have a reason to upgrade. It’s good; it’s solid; it works. As long as it’s supported (extended support ends in January of 2020), it’s not unreasonable to keep it.

Windows 10 is also a fine operating system. Folks that are running Windows 10, in my opinion, have little reason to downgrade. For the most part, it’s good, it’s solid, and it works.

There are two problems with Windows 10 (and to a lesser degree, Windows 8 before it).

First, when coming from Windows 7 or earlier editions, people tend to get all wrapped around the axle with the new start screen and Start menu. It’s a bad first impression that colors their entire subsequent experience with the operating system. This is really unfortunate, because it’s so easily fixed. Once you fix it, most of the time you actually have a hard time realizing you aren’t running Windows 7.

The fix is easy. Install Classic Shell or any of the other Start menu replacements; there’s a bunch of them. Particularly useful for Windows 8 and 8.1, it makes the Windows desktop look and act pretty much like Windows 7 (or Vista, or XP), and it’s a heckuva lot easier than the downgrading process, as you’ll soon see. So, if it’s the start screen or Start menu that concerns you, I recommend you give Classic Shell a try before you insist on downgrading.

Second, some folks are running into compatibility issues: printers that no longer print, accessories that no longer work, or applications that fail in Windows 10. Other than upgrading the failing hardware or software, there’s little recourse here, and reverting to the previous working edition of Windows is the only viable choice.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda

WindowsI often hear that “Microsoft should have done this” or “they shouldn’t have done that.”

Whatever they should or shouldn’t have done with Windows, this is what they did. Complaining just isn’t going to help.

There are signs Microsoft does periodically rethink some of their decisions, and continued updates in Windows 10 seem to bear that out to some degree. But regardless of what they did, why they did it, or what they’re going to do in the future, this is what you have today: a machine with Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 on it.

The right way to “downgrade”

The easiest way to perform a downgrade is actually extremely simple:

  • Back up your computer completely. I recommend a complete image backup to make sure you don’t miss anything.
  • Restore your computer to the backup image you took immediately prior to upgrading to Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.
  • Restore any updates to your data from the backup image you took in the first step.

That’s it. It’s a bit of work, but you have your old Windows back.

The problem, of course, is that many people simply don’t have that “image you took immediately prior to upgrading”. They have nothing to restore to. These folks need the more traditional downgrade path.

The steps to downgrade

I promised you the steps, and here they are.

Step 1: Back up your machine completely. I recommend a complete image backup to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Step 2: Install Windows 7 from scratch. That means basically reformat and reinstall, so you’ll end up with a machine that has a brand new installation of Windows 7.

Step 3: Install all of your applications from scratch. That means you’ll need your installation disks (or downloads) for all of the applications you care about, because you will, in fact, be setting them up one at a time.

Step 4: Restore your data from the backup, or wherever else you have it.

Pretty simple; just not easy.

There is no true downgrade

The truth is, there is no such thing as a downgrade. There is no easy way to turn Windows 10 into Windows 8, or Windows 8 into Windows 7, especially if you’ve been using the newer OS for any length of time. What you do instead is replace the newer version of Windows with Windows 7 by performing a completely clean install of Windows 7.

This is nothing new. Operating system upgrades are rarely reversible. With the exception of the limited-time ability to revert from Windows 10 that was offered during the free upgrade period, you’ve never really been able to downgrade. Even when the facility is available, it’s not something I would recommend you count on.

As long as you’re not facing true compatibility issues, my belief is that making Windows 8 or 10 behave a little bit more like Windows 7 (by using Classic Shell or similar tools) is a much more viable alternative to reformatting your machine and starting over from scratch.

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55 comments on “How Do I Downgrade from Windows 8 or 10 to Windows 7?”

  1. People seem to say that Windows 8 is bad for mouse but good for touch. I personally think it is the opposite: the corner rollovers, the dragging of objects, and so on, is just fine for me on Windows 8. In fact, I can’t image using Windows 8 with touch. I have no problem using Windows 8 at all, nor do I have a problem with using these new “metro” “apps” like the new solitaire. Although, all a mouse user really has to do is adapt the start screen to work like the start menu: clean it up, then pin their desktop apps to the start screen.

    Of course, it could also just be me and my touchscreens, and my difficulty in using them. When I try to use someone else’s android phone, I had difficulty swiping from one screen to another. When I gave an iPhone a look, I had trouble scrolling. Something else occurred to me as I typed this: I don’t like the feeling of a rough plastic screen touching my fingers.

    I will definitely miss Windows Aero, and I don’t like some other changes they made in Windows 8 but I have noticed things that are better, and the addition of features, the likes of which, well, it was about time that some version of them was included in Windows. Also, according to the Microsoft Security Intelligence report, Windows 8 is less than 30% as likely to be infected as Windows 7. (up-to-date as of June 2013)

    A few little thing I want to say quickly:
    I’m surprised that many Windows 8.1 users don’t use ctrl+alt+del to open a task manager when they can’t figure out how to get out of one of those apps. Perhapes that key combination isn’t as famous as I thought it was.

    If I were to speak for everyone, I would definitely have to complain about the lack of obviousness of the “All apps” menu. (lame replacement for “all programs”)

  2. I agree that Windows 8 is a good operating system but it is based around a touch-screen. If you do not have a touch-screen computer then using Windows 8 becomes a chore and it is easier, and simpler, to use Windows 7.

    • I don’t have, or want, a touch-screen. I happily use Windows 8.1 – the fact that it supports touch
      -screen is irrelevant – it’s perfectly suited to mouse-operation.

    • That is simply not true. Windows 8 works fine without a touch screen – it certainly doesn’t become a “chore”. Install Classic Shell and you’ve basically got Windows 7 anyway.

      • I have 8.1 on an SSD equipped 1080 touchscreen Ultrabook. I have used 8 with a mouse, it is painful, for instance to close a metro app you simply swipe top to bottom on touchscreen or touchpad, with a mouse you move the cursor to the top center of the screen, wait for it to turn to a hand, then click and drag straight down to the bottom of the screen, wait for the window to “shrink”, then release the mouse button.

        The Windows 8 gestures on the touchscreen or touchpad make things so much faster and easier. I love swiping in from the left edge to switch apps.

  3. I made the mistake of “upgrading” Win7 Pro to Win8 when Microsoft was offering the special price last year. When I became dissatisfied with the new OS, I plugged in my USB external drive, inserted the boot disk for my backup software, and about 15 minutes later, Win8 was consigned to a better place and Win7 Pro was in the same condition it’d been before it was replaced.

    If a user does not have a full-system backup of their previous OS, then they’d probably be better off to just take the time to learn to deal with Win8.

    • I made a similar mistake. I also purchased the $30.00 upgrade to Windows 8. As well I took advantage of a “Kind” offer from Microsoft and obtained a “Free” Licence for Windows 8 Pro Media Centre. I installed this a couple of weeks ago over my Windows 8 Pro. I was asked for the Licence code which I supplied and that was fine, my licence was legal and accepted. This was while installing and I presume there was no check made on line at this time. However a little later after a restart or two and being connected to Net, I was politely informed that the licence code had been blocked and I would need to PURCHASE a new one. As I remember the info given when the free licence was offered it was a saving of $20.00 or so. At that price I went looking to buy one on line. Surprise surprise!! I am informed that I cannot buy on line from my location (Australia) but will need to purchase from a retailer who sells Microsoft products. My enquiries to date indicate that I will need to purchase a full retail version of Windows 8 Pro with Media Centre. No price was available and I have not had any reply from Microsoft regarding the whole mess. There is no way to remove the Media Centre without a full reinstall.

      Beware of “Gifts” when offered by Microsoft.

      Cheers, Chris

      • If this gift was really from Microsoft, you can call their registration support line for your country. In most cases they will give you a new key if they find the purchase or gift to be legitimate. I’ve even heard of cases where MS validated the licenses of people who bought pirate versions in good faith. You don’t have much to lose except the time of the phone call. Be sure you get the phone number you get through the registration process. Any number you find on the web is likely to be a scam.

  4. Classic Shell user here.
    The machine I use at home has Vista SP2. I love it.
    For any Vista users who want to try Classic Shell, use version 3.6.8 or earlier. Later versions are not supported for Vista.

  5. My only problem really is / was lack of drivers for Android. I tried to run a
    Windows 7 guest, but the since the host OS did not understand the
    device it could not cope with it. I have Windows 8 setup as I had
    Windows 7 Pro and everything seems to behave properly as long
    as Windows 8 understands the devices. Hopefully the device
    manufacturers will create a Windows 8 driver for the devices.

    I’m dual booting and BIOS mode switching Windows 7 Pro
    on a separate MBR disk and Windows 8.1 on its GPT disk.

  6. I was about to buy a new laptop several months ago, but the one I settled on was only available with Windows 8. I told them I’d buy it if they replaced Windows 8 with Windows 7 Pro and I’d pay for the service, but they refused and I didn’t buy. It’s not the interface that killed the deal for me, but all the stories I’ve heard about compatibility issues with older software and hardware. I don’t want to have to replace all of my old software in addition to upgrading the operating system. The last time I made a large upgrade, I lost access to some important files, because I could no longer open them with new versions, even though they were from the same manufacturer. I love my older printer and scanner and don’t want to replace them until they die. I was told Windows 7 Pro could handle anything that ran on Windows XP, which is the version we’re now using on both our desktop and laptop computers. Have I been advised incorrectly? Are most older programs compatible with Windows 8? Are there drivers available for older hardware devices?

    • Bill
      Let me say first, “I’m not close to being an expert” but here’s my story/opinion.
      When my Vista desktop failed (motherboard or power supply) I bought a new HP from BestBuy with Windows 8. I had QuickBooks Pro 2012 that was less than a year old at the time & according to Intuit, it won’t work with Win 8. They offered to sell me a version that is supposed to work for $250. One of the other problems I ran into was with my e-mail. I used WinMail that came with Vista which is similar to the mail program that XP has, I think. If I understand correctly, the Win 8 e-mail program won’t work with POP3 e-mail which Comcast uses. I think you can download Windows Live Mail for free, which works with POP3. As far as your printer & scanner, you should go to the manufacturers website & check for Win 8 drivers to see if they’re available.
      It took me quiet a while to find out about all the compatibility issues which seemed to make most of my software obsolete.
      I ended up returning the new computer & am using my Win 7 laptop now. I plan to shop for a Win 7 desktop, which seems to be more backward compatible, while they’re still available.

      • Win 8 email program doesn’t do POP3? That’s bizarre – I’m not sure I believe it. My recommendation is to avoid the built-in email program anyway and get one of the many free programs (like Thunderbird) that are supported and significantly more full featured.

        I’m also shocked that QuickBooks Pro 2012 wouldn;t work – I wonder if that was a statement rather than a test. (I’d put a small amount of money on the install actually working.) Intuit has a very vested interest in forcing people to upgrade QuickBooks periodically, so I’m wondering if that was more of a sales tactic rather than a technical necessity. I’d love to hear from someone that tried 2012 on Windows 8.

    • With respect to software Windows 8 is about as compatible as Windows 7. Even with Windows 7 had some programs that would no longer run, but Windows 8 is not a major change over that. “Most” old applications run. Not all, of course, but most. When it comes to hardware it seems that printers and scanners get the short-shrift with each OS update. Some didn’t work with Windows 7. Some more won’t work with Windows 8. It really varies based on the specific printer, manufacturer and model.

      • For people who are using XP at the time they switch to Windows 8, I certainly can understand why they think 8 might not work with all their software. For me it started with 7 (I skipped Vista). On my new Windows 7 laptop I found that it didn’t run some of my older software that worked on Windows 98 and XP.

        I solved that problem by installing Oracle’s VirtualBox, setting up Windows XP and installing the software there.

      • I found the Microsoft Windows 8.1 Compatibility Center. It says my Canon printer is compatible with an update, but my Epson scanner is incompatible. That alone is enough reason for me not to convert to Windows 8, but the inability to recover old, but important files is what really turns me off to the idea. Dell sells so many models yet with Windows 7 Pro that I really don’t understand why they won’t load it on a laptop I really like in all other respects. It suits me much better than some of the far more expensive business models. I’ve owned all Dell computers over the years, mainly because it was easy to customize them from the factory. This request didn’t require any hardware changes, so I figured it’d be easy to get. Guess the world has changed. Maybe a reversion to Henry Ford’s line about Model Ts, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.”

        • I don’t understand this portion of your statement: “the inability to recover old, but important files” – I don’t see where the OS upgrade would affect you. Have specifics?

  7. I would add one thing to your list of steps in installing Win 7 instead of Win 8:

    If/when it starts to do updates to Win 7, turn it off at some point. We didn’t and it updated for 24 hours! After the fact, our research indicated that, because the first sets of updates were downloaded but not really installed, every new update was picking up the preceeding ones. Had we stopped the update and rebooted, the ones we got would have installed and the upgrades would have started from where we left off.

    Other than that, we had NO problems whatsoever with the upgrade.

    BTW, when we went to 7 our Epson scanner would no longer work because there were no drivers. So, we bought a $35 multi printer and it actually works better than the old scanner!

  8. One reason to keep Win 7 is I believe it is the last version of Windows to include Windows Media Center. I think I am going to pick up a copy of Win 7 while I still can for a media center PC build I am planning.

  9. Leo, to each their own, I guess.

    I just bought a new laptop a few weeks ago. It came with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled, as well as a Windows 8 system image in the box. So, a couple of nights ago, I decided to give Windows 8 the benefit of the doubt. Again. So I installed the system image, upgraded it to 8.1 and played with it for a day. To borrow your new-car analogy, up(down?)grading from Windows 7 to Windows 8(.1) is like trading in a 25-year-old, stripped-down Mercedes-Benz for a brand new, loaded Hyundai. The Hyundai might razzle-dazzle you with all the gadgets, gimmicks and gizmos (right down to the radio presets), but it will never look, feel, or drive like that old Benz.

  10. As I’ve never used either Windows 7 or Vista, I can only vouch for Software compatibility issues between Windows 8/8.1 and Windows XP. Besides being unable to install my Nero 7.5, complete with Nero Vision Authoring Tool on the former, I’ve also recently discovered that I’m unable to stitch together separate jpegs on the Paint Program that comes with Windows 8. All that happens when I try to do just that, the second jpeg image ends up on top of the other image, regardless of how much I increase the empty space. I literally had to go to my other Windows XP Based PC, and use that version of Paint to perform that task!

    Therefore, while I agree with Leo that downgrading fro, Windows for the sake of disliking the lack of a Start button, which can be easily remedied (Albeit, not necessarily with 100% satisfactory results!) is probably a waste of time; Software compatibility can sometimes be a whole other Can of Worms! Frankly, without my XP Based Dell PC, (Which my wife would just as soon I get rid of!), I’d be faced with either spending hundreds of Dollars on new Windows 8 compatible Software, or simply having to live without being able to perform certain functions!

    Can anyone explain whether or not Oracle’s Virtual Box for the purpose of setting up XP to install non Windows 8 compatible Software can be safely piggybacked on top of an existing Windows 8 OS (As opposed to having to reformat and start from scratch!); or is a separate Hard Drive required for this purpose?


  11. I have both a Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit pc AND a Windows 8 Pro 64 bit machine. I have Stardock`s Start8 installed on this Windows 8 machine,which returns the “classic” start menu and also allows me to boot directly to the “desktop” so I pretty much by-pass the Windows 8 Start Screen altogether.I must say I still prefer Windows 7 just because of the “Aero” “Eye-candy…i.e. translucent windows borders,etc.

  12. The steps to downgrade, & how I do it;

    Step 1: Verify the system has downgrade driver support from the system Mfg.
    and / or the hardware component Mfg.
    – if downgrade driver support is not available, give up
    – if downgrade driver support is available, continue,
    The device manager will be full of Yellow bangs under the downgrade OS;
    get all the required hardware Drivers for the specific OS to be installed:
    – Intel / AMD Chipset
    – Sound card
    – Wired NIC
    – Wireless NIC
    – Touchpad (laptop)
    – Card Reader (if present)
    – Bluetooth (if present)
    – Graphics Card, integrated or PCI-e
    – etc.

    Step 2: Remove OEM supplied HDD / SSD and put it on the shelf

    Step 3: Install new HDD / SSD & prep it for OS installation

    Step 4: Install Windows 7 from scratch.

    Step 5: install all the drivers retrieved in Step 1

    Step 6: begin using the machine

    also note, that some hardware features functions may not be supportable under a downgrade OS

  13. Actually there were tires. The tiled start screen *is* the Windows 8 start menu. Now, granted, they’re tires that you can’t stand, but they’re tires nonetheless.

  14. I think you’re over simplifying the new car analogy to a radio with presets. I’ve been in IT support for many years and when I first tried Windows 8 my first reaction was… WTF? Now, as professionals we can tweak things to make them easier to work with, but the average layman KNOWS how to drive a car.. whether it be VW, Ford, Audi etc, So when they climb behind the wheel of your car-with the-radio-presets, they can cock the radio a deafie and carry on driving. Not so with Win 8. The steering wheel is in the back seat while the pedals are in the front. Your analogy would require you have a structural engineer to modify the car to suit the layman. It’s not just about the start menu button, access to certain functions are a pain to get to unless you make sure you have shortcuts onto the desktop. With Windows 7 it’s just a click away. As I’ve said before, Microsoft don’t admit mistakes, they admit service packs… and the fact that the first service pack was released so soon after the initial OS release proves that Microsoft really missed the boat on this one. Complaining DOES help… hence the releases.

    • Very good reply Wayne.
      I totally agree and I am no idiot either . As a cad programmer I spend 11 hours a day pounding
      keys in front of my brand new , top of the line ( as of June 2014 ) Win7 Dell Xeon Workstation.
      My home PC is Win8.1…..Ughhhhh !!! Having to install a third party software seems insulting.
      Win8 is a train wreck no matter how you spin it. Hopefully 9 is better and I am sure it will.
      We are not the only 2 people complaining. Simple analogies are laughable !!

  15. I was perfectly happy with Windows 8; however, when the free upgrade to Windows 8.1 came along, I assumed that I would be a good idea to upgrade, so I did. The first problem I ran into was that the hard drive I backup my system to is no longer compatible with Windows 8.1
    I’d like to go back to Windows 8, but it is not possible; so I have to downgrade to Windows 7, then upgrade again to Windows 8 and then refuse the upgrade to Windows 8.1
    I almost considered giving up on the external hard drive, but my system appears to have become corrupted and the restore function will not work. It tells me there are missing files. I am ready to downgrade to Windows 7, but I need to backup my files. I have an older external hard drive that oddly enough IS compatible with Windows 8.1, but I can’t seem to figure out how to backup my files in a way that they will be accessible on Windows 7. How do I do that, please?

    • Windows 8.1 image backups are stored as .vhdx files which you should be able to open up in previous versions of Windows.

      Saying that I strongly recommend moving to a “real” backup solution like Macrium Reflect. There whatever you back up can be accessed in any version of Windows that can run Reflect (which includes XP through 8.1).

  16. I have a question. I just bought a new laptop with windows 8.1. I wanted to downgrade it to windows 7 Pro. Can i upgrade the 8.1 to 8.1 pro then downgrade it to 7 pro since there is a downgrade rights thingy with windows 8.1 pro. My reason of downgrade is not due to the interface but because of certain programming software that I am using had yet to upgrade to windows 8. Or should i follow your advice of just do a fresh installation of the window 7 pro OS? Please help me. Microsoft is just moving too fast… the rest of the world is still trying to catch up…

    • The downgrade license only applies to the legality of downgrading. It’s still necessary to install Windows 7 and all of your programs from scratch, The downgrade licensing is what gives you the right to do this.

  17. The best approach is almost always:

    backup completely
    install the OS from scratch using the installation disks
    install your applications from scratch from their original media or downloads
    restore your data from your backups

    In my experience this gives the most stable result.

  18. LEO, the problem is not in downgrading the INSTALLATION, I think anyone even looking at this issue is probably competent to figure that out. The problem is in registering your Windows 7, in other words, downgrading the LICENSE. This is actually possible to do, and is not that difficult. Just google it.

  19. since i can’t return to windows 7, which is what i desperately want to do. can i please prevent Microsoft from automatically
    up grading my computer to all of its new technology. i am 75 years old and don’t want to have to deal with a new up grade, no matter how good or beneficial it may be. i was completely happy & satisfied with what i had and knew.
    ( Windows 7) .

    All of this new stuff may be good for younger people but it only confuses me, i don’t want or need it . Windows 7 provided
    exactly what i needed.!! No more up grades Please!!

    it’s my computer, it seems i should have a choice. or some say in the matter of what you push down my throat I’m very angery. NO MORE automatic UP- GRADFS ON MY COMPUTER!!!

    • Microsoft is going to keep moving forward with new operating systems. It may relieve some frustration to realize that it is your computer, but that the operating system really does not belong to you in the way that you are thinking. All software needs to be updated all the time to remove bugs and vulnerabilities. Even Linux operating systems contantly upgrade, as do all Apple products. Tablets upgrade, phones upgrade. I figure that the amount of time and energy I spend being frustrated would be better spent in exploring what’s new and cool in the new system. Keeps me a happier person.

      • Connie, You need to distinguish between “behind the scenes” upgrades to remove bugs & vulnerabilities, and changes to the user interface. For most people, the user interface _is_ the operating system. All the back-end stuff is invisible, unknown, and unknowable.

        Joyce speaks for a lot of people when she vents her frustration with manufacturers who change user interfaces just to make them different, so they can sell new versions – change for its own sake.

        Think back to the appalling change to Office in 2007 introducing the “ribbon”, with the worldwide impact on productivity while people had to learn a new interface. Think back to the change in Windows8 removing the START button and adding the tiles, and how unpopular that was.

        Joyce, and most of the rest of us, would be content to let Microsoft make whatever updates they want to the invisible back-end. We want them to leave the interface alone because we have better things to do with our lives than waste our time exploring what is “new and cool” and trying to find out how to do the tasks we used to be able to do but which we can no longer carry out because the interface is different.

        • I sympathize and agree with the complainers. Many of those interface changes hurt a lot more than they help. Microsoft finds a “better” place to move a folder and productivity decreases for a time while people have to learn the new locations of folders and launch buttons. Then, once they’ve gotten it down, they change it again. We here at Ask Leo! aren’t in any way defending what MS is doing. In a way, what we are doing is telling people who are complaining about the weather how to dress for it as it’s a fact of life they can’t change.

  20. I do not think W.10 is all that great.. Cannot play older game on W.10.. Crashes.. Freezes… Won’t close on the X.. Have to go to task manager to get a page to close… Some page are so bad to close its really disgusting… Could throw computer in the trash…!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have to shut down computer hoping the page closes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Just do a Google/Bing/(whatever) search on your older program. You will sometimes find gaming groups have created mods that will allow the program to run on newer versions of Window machines. I just did it for a real old game (Civ II). I used to run it on a virtual XP install on my windows 7 system. That system crashed a couple days ago big time (hardware). It was my last ‘old’ system. Thought I was going to have to go through Civ II withdrawal Found a site that had all kinds of mods for it, and I am back playing it on my windows 10 system. Runs even better than before. It never hurts to try (well – it can if it has a virus installer, but like Leo always says – back it up first!) Good luck!

  21. I tried to avoid the Windows 10 upgrade for a long time, but it was eventually forced on me by those devious tactics they used. Now that I have it, I wouldn’t opt to go back to what I had before (Windows 7 on the work computer, and Windows 8.1 at home).

    I’m not young like the kids who were born in the technology age. And I’m not old like some of those who’ve never tried any of this modern stuff. My experience is that adapting and learning is the best way to handle changing technology.

  22. Before upgrading to Wondows 10 I tried to clone my W7. This did not work. So I made an image that I verified. W10 could not run many programs I use regularly, so I decided to go back to W7. Of course I made an image backup first. Well the restore to W7 did not work. I had to reinstall completely. Thank you Microsoft.

  23. Hello,

    My cousin has Compaq (HP) Presario CQ58-150 SI currently with Windows 8.1. But Original OS was Windows 7 starter version. He had no idea when his friend installed Windows 8.1 and now he is not happy. He wants to downgrade his laptop to Windows 7 Starter version, however he doesn’t have license key for Windows 7 as Microsoft doesn’t share license key with customers.

    So, what would be the best solution to go back to Windows 7, or would you recommend me to directly install Windows 10 Starter?

    Also provide me with relevant sources where I can find original OS file without license key.

    Please let me know the best solution. TIA

      • I’m sorry but I forgor to mention that Windows 8.1 is pirated version. :(

        As far as I know, we had licensed version of Windows 7 starter earlier, which had been replaced with pirated 8.1.

      • Even, I want to upgrade to Windows 10 but I think, I have to install Windows 7 starter version first and then I would be able to upgrade to Windows 10. Right??

        • If you can install a legitimate version of Windows 7, that should work to update.
          First take a system image backup of your Windows 8 system. You will use this to copy your personal files to the new system.
          2. Install Windows 7 and all of your programs from scratch.
          3. Copy all of your personal files from the backup
          4. Stay away from pirated software. It’s not only illegal but has a very high probability of containing malware.

          • Got it.

            However, if I install Windows 7 starter from scratch, it will ask for product key, won’t it?

            AFAIK, Microsoft doesn’t allow user to find out legitimate key. So will it take Product key automatically?

          • Yes, it probably will. And you’ll need a legitimate, authorized copy of Windows to “upgrade” to Windows 10. I’m afraid installing that pirated copy of 8.1 may have ruined your options. Your only choice might be to purchase a new key.

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