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Windows 7 Downgrade Rights Print
January 2010

Downgrade rights for Windows 7 are an end-user right, documented in the Software License Terms that customers accept upon first running Windows software.

Originally Windows 7 end user downgrade rights was to be available for approximately 18 months after the general availability of Windows 7 (therefore April 2011) or the release of a Windows 7 Service Pack, whichever is earlier. However Microsoft now says customers buying new Windows 7 PCs (OEM included) will have the option to downgrade those machines to XP throughout the life cycle of Windows 7.

You may wish to consider the product lifecycles as published by Microsoft to determine whether Windows XP is still supported (currently it is supported until April 2014).

Windows lifecycle fact sheet

Customers must:windows7_downgradeoptions_380x246.gif

  • Purchase a PC preinstalled with Windows 7.
  • Accept the Windows 7 Software License Terms.
  • Perform the downgrade or authorize Compucon to perform it.
Compucon (when authorized by the end user) or the end user can install the software.
A Windows XP Professional media disk is needed to facilitate the downgrade from Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows XP Professional if you wish to install the software yourself.

The downgrade media can be media associated with any prior legally licensed version from the OEM system builder or retail channels. 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.


If you receive a system with a Windows 7 license but with Windows XP installed by Compucon (i.e. you have asked to exercise downgrade rights) you will need to use a product key from any other system you can find to activate the copy of Windows XP. The XP product key must come from an OEM license sticker on the side of any old computer you can find. If activation through the Internet fails you should contact the Microsoft Activation Centre for assistance.

Microsoft Local Activation Support centre:
  • Website: Click Here
  • New Zealand Phone Number: 0800 676 334