Last week while I was visiting with a group of the Microsoft SBS MVPs here on campus, the question came up of, “What media do we use to install the previous version of Windows if a client wants to use the downgrade rights associated with their OEM Windows license?” As a follow-up to that conversation that ensued afterwards, I told them I would post the information here to the blog, along with the link to where they can find this information, so that they had it to refer back to. So, Jeff, and everyone else, here you go:
First, if you are not familiar with what “Downgrade Rights” are, you might want to read this first: Licensing Basics: What are Downgrade Rights?
To directly answer your question about what media you can use for the installation of the downgraded desktop operating system, the answer is:
- End users can use the following media for their downgrades: Retail (full packaged product), or system builder edge-to-edge media (provided the software is acquired in accordance with the Microsoft OEM System Builder License). Additionally an end user, who is licensed separately through Microsoft Volume Licensing programs, may provide their Volume Licensing media and key to their System Builder to use to facilitate the downgrade on only their systems.
Now, there was a follow-up question that was posed in the session with the MVPs after the answer was given on the media and that was, “But if we install a prior version operating system on a PC, who’s the one that has to support it?” This is a very valid question because as a former system builder, I can absolutely tell you that if one of my clients had called me and told me they installed a prior operating system on one of the PCs I had built for them, I would have 0% confidence or interest in providing standard support for that install. The answer to this question, and it is an important one, is:
- In the event the end user opts to downgrade, neither Microsoft nor the PC manufacturer is obligated to provide customer product support for systems on which such previous versions are installed.
There are several other questions and answers in addition to these two above provided in the Windows Downgrade Rights Details & FAQ posted on the Microsoft OEM site, so I am going to recommend you go there to view this list of questions and answers.
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Thank you and have a wonderful day,