A Computing Resource

How to downgrade Windows 8.1 Pro OEM to Windows 7 Pro

I had a client the other day bring in a laptop that he had bought that had Windows 8.1 Pro OEM installed on it. The client needed windows 7 Pro installed.

I honestly didn’t know if I could downgrade his version of Windows 8.1 Pro to Windows 7 Pro, partly because it was an OEM model but also because the laptop had no product key sticker on it(as many of the newer laptops don’t come with the Windows Product Key sticker on them anymore).

So I started searching then I found this page which said that you do have downgrade rights if you have a professional or enterprise version of Windows. You can actually downgrade Windows 8.1 Pro to Windows 7 Pro or Windows Vista Business.

So I rang Microsoft and asked them how I do this if I do not have the original product key stuck onto the laptop.

It turns out that all you have to do is bring your own version of Windows 7 Pro and your own Windows 7 Pro product key and then you install it. This means that you can use your old installation key or use a friends one, you will also need your own Windows 7 Pro installation media.

I just used one off one of our computers that was laying around the workshop.

Now this may not activate because it is an old key. (Mine didn’t and I had to do this as well)

So what you do from then is activate by phone.

You will need the original product key, which you can get by using software (one example is produkey) to extract the Windows 8.1 product key out of the operating system.

When you talk to the person from Microsoft activations just explain that you are downgrading your Windows 8.1 Pro version to Windows 7 pro and then you read out the nine sets of six numbers and they will tell you the confirmation numbers then your Windows 7 Pro install is activated.

Some things to remember:

  • You will need to check the manufacturers website before doing this though to make sure that your computer has drivers for the operating system that you are wanting to downgrade to.
  • This will not work for the standard version of Windows 8 or 8.1, or previous versions of Windows Home Premium
  • This will also work the same with desktop computers.
Jake Gardner (165 Posts)

Jake works full time as a Systems Engineer in Warrnambool. He regularly works with SMB clients planning, managing, deploying and maintaining Windows based systems. He has an Advanced Diploma in Computer Systems Engineering and is always reading and studying new things.


  1. Pierre
    23/05/2014 at 8:58 PM #

    So, you can use the windows 8.1 key for the windows 7 installation?

    • Jake Gardner
      24/05/2014 at 9:36 AM #

      No you have to find a key for windows 7 somewhere else and the fact that you have a windows 8 key gives you the right to downgrade

  2. Ahsan
    01/06/2014 at 5:14 PM #

    There are NO free available keys for Windows 7 (Any Ver) the reason for this? Well, when someone leaks a super-key, blacklisted key, full retail key, it can only be used a certain amount of time before Microsoft eventually delete the key from their servers. Thus meaning that the keys are no longer valid and will NOT work, there is no such thing as a free meal…
    You have to pay for your keys. Like everyone else.
    I am a certified person from Microsoft, Whose Product key is sensitive case, Because Microsoft provide it for only one system at the same time, I was need the windows 7 key for my laptop, So I contact to Microsoft but they denied to give me a key, So I search all over the world to purchase it.
    Recently, I contact a site from India, They provided me windows 7 pro key sticker, Which is legal and working good.

    • Md. Golam Rabby
      27/06/2014 at 5:25 AM #

      In my life, i have not saw such as disgusting support as like microsoft. I have call USA, Singapore, India but no one can provide me a solution. Everyone forwarding to each other. when i select phone activation process ,after selecting my country its showing singapore number….Then i call signapore, they suggest me to call India and india suggest me to call signapore, then singapore again suggest to call my country number but its inactive. can any body suggest me where i can get support.

    • Rahat Ullah Jan
      11/11/2014 at 8:06 AM #

      can i used my windows 8.1 pro 64 bit license key . for windows 7 pro 64 bit ?

      • Jake Gardner
        11/11/2014 at 12:13 PM #

        Sort of you need to call them up and downgrade according to the instructions

  3. Francesco Mazzucco
    02/09/2014 at 9:54 AM #

    Dowload Debian GNU/Linux from http://www.debian.org and get rid off this pile of garbage.
    No license code, no more BSOD, no drivers, nothing! Just free, reliable and rock stable open source software. I moved there from many years and I don’t miss Microsoft at all…

  4. Rahat Ullah Jan
    11/11/2014 at 8:05 AM #

    can i used my windows 8.1 pro 64 bit key for windows 7 pro 64 bit ?

  5. Ashley
    21/03/2015 at 8:17 AM #

    Late post but here are the facts after several phone calls with Dell / Microsoft:
    The downgrade rights rules actually mean this:
    If you own multiple computers and one has a genuine copy of windows 7 pro installed on it, then we will allow you to downgrade your SECOND computer from windows 8.1 pro to windows 7 pro.

    You cannot use a friends key (Microsoft told me they will disable it). You cannot use a windows 7 ultimate key. you must use the same windows 7 pro key type (OEM, Volume licensing etc).

    I will never pay for a Microsoft product again.

    • Jake Gardner
      22/03/2015 at 8:03 AM #

      Hi Ashley
      That’s not what my Microsoft rep says, I am under the understanding that you can downgrade like it says in the post

  6. Columbus
    24/03/2015 at 2:35 PM #

    Downgrading from 8.1 / 8 PRO to Win 7 Pro with an existing Win 8 installation and BIOS “invisible” Key is just fucking hell.

    Sadly many software isn’t running on Linux.

  7. Ivan
    16/04/2015 at 2:13 PM #

    Really, to exercise your downgrade rights with Microsoft is a fucking joke. This seems like a catch in the licensing model with the only intention to punish users that, due to lack of information, do the software licensing in a wrong way.
    I wish they have never released this downgrade option since they don’t even know how to instruct you to do the procedure correctly. They should at least provide us a Win 7 Pro Sticker or a Trial Key on their Website for a new installation and then execute the activation by phone or other reliable way.

  8. Flo
    20/05/2015 at 4:23 PM #

    You can just use the test version of windows 7. I.e. install it without inserting any serial and you’re good to go.

  9. JM
    17/07/2015 at 6:07 PM #

    The law firm I work for will not yet allow 8.1 pro because a horrendous Win 8 experience. So we must use Win 7 pro. I have a brand new Dell laptop with Win 8.1 Pro and with specific downgrade rights to 7 pro (obtained from Dell chat in writing at the time of purchase.) The downgrade was smooth and the Dell branded OEM Win 7 Pro auto installed, activated and was flagged as “genuine” without ever entering a key. Six weeks later, after some Microsoft updates this week, I get flagged with a nice prompt as using pirated software. The the MS activation folks answering the phone in Pakistan or on the Malay peninsula literally talk themselves in circles for any problem not on their scripted answers.

    I am not a pirate. I am using legit Dell branded software. Dell concierge support said they have been flooded with calls about this. Looks like another winner from the company that has managed to lose search, tablets, browser, mp3 players, phones, and soon, OS.

  10. jeewan
    13/09/2015 at 4:47 AM #

    i have bought windows 8.1 pro but i want to install windows 7 pro and activate what i should do?i install windows 7 pro with normal pirated DVD then how to activate with 8.1 pro key i have bought ?

  11. jeewan
    13/09/2015 at 4:50 AM #

    I tried phone activation method also but they saying installation id have some problems and they cant give confirmation ID at the moment.Pls any one know right way to do this pls reply me soon tajeewan @gmail.com


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